Pi Attitude Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion

Multicultural Marketing Stirs Controversy in US [1]

The Coca-Cola Corporation would be considered by many Americans a pretty mainstream kind of company, perhaps even on the conservative side;  certainly not the type of corporate citizen to deliberately rock the social or cultural boat, or indulge in unpatriotic political provocations in their advertising.

Which causes Pi to wonder why a chorus of conservative voices has been noisily denouncing a Coke television ad aired during the Super Bowl broadcast.  Among other apoplectic voices, a former Republican congressman cited the ad as evidence that “America is on the road to perdition”, while a Fox News radio broadcast snarled that Coca-Cola had become “the official soft drink of illegals crossing the [Mexican-US] border”.   

What did the soda giant do or say to call down this torrent of vituperation?  They had a series of young Americans sing “America The Beautiful” in the languages of their forebears, ranging from Tagalog (from the Philippines), through  Mandarin, Arabic and a Native American Pueblo language to French and Spanish.  Public commitments to multi-cultural marketing don’t come much more direct.

Most viewers who saw the ad thought it patriotic, ennobling and uplifting, an affirmation of the American melting-pot ideal.  Others spluttered that the use of foreign languages was a violation and adulteration of American language and culture, and a threat to national unity.  (It had to be gently pointed out that the national motto, “E Pluribus Unum” is not in English either).

Pi thinks the fuss tells you more about the parlous and denialist state of America’s right-wing politics than it says about The Coca-Cola Corporation.  Forgetting that America’s population consists almost entirely of successive waves of foreign immigrants, conservative voices are again turning nativist.  Many are pitting themselves against any attempt to reform US immigration law, or to recognize the legitimacy of American residents of recent foreign origin.

Such exclusionist views do not have history on their side.  America is miscegenating and Hispanicizing at an inexorable rate, as shown in a new map published in The Economist.  A rough diagonal line starting above California and snaking Southeastwards to the Texas-Louisiana border cordons off a vast swathe of territory in which the population of Mexican origin ranges from 10% (the US national average) all the way up to 40%.  In large parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, Hispanic culture already approaches parity with Anglo-Saxon.

This is barely surprising, since until 1848 the whole territory South and West of the line was part of Mexico anyway.  As The Economist trenchantly points out, the region’s inhabitants of Mexican origin didn’t jump the border – the border jumped them.  This is just one reason why the USA is a multi-cultural market whether it likes it or not.

Pi’s opinion of the right-wing determination to keep America white and monolingual?  ¡Mucha suerte con eso, señores!

Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion Country: USA / North America Product –