So there is this Coke ad aired during the Superbowl that features some Tagalog words in a rendition of the American nationalist song “America the Beautiful”, specifically the words “Sa ibabaw ng mga prutas” (which translates to “Above the fruited plain” for those who speak American). Speaking of fruity plains, the ad also touted Coke as “the first advertiser to show a gay family in an ad for America’s big game.”
I wonder though if Filipinos who beamed with pride over the inclusion of a snippet of the national dialect in a mega-million-dollar budget ad caught the irony of it all. I mean, gay marriage or, for that matter, being gay per se remains quite the controversial “condition” many Filipinos regard it to be in their society. Considering that the fate of the country’s first-enacted reproductive health law (just months in effect armed with much-needed population control measures) is now being re-debated at the Philippine Supreme Court and, as such, is hanging by a thread staring at legal oblivion below it, the prospect of gay marriage ever being made legal in the Philippines is pure fantasy. And with the Philippines being predominantly Roman Catholic first, and Islamic a far second, there hangs on top of its society a dark gray cloud that will serve as a stark backdrop to any colourful extravaganza of what the free world has to offer to the billions of consumers of its addictive products.
Coca Cola invented Santa Claus among other modern consumerist notions, and is as American as apple pie. But as a publicly-traded enterprise, its CEO is incentivised primarily on his ability to keep its shareholders happy, which means he needs to keep Coke revenues growing ad infinitum. For that to happen over the short-term (or until the company comes up with another killer product), he needs to get the rest of the world and its future generations hooked on Coke. Lucky for him, the Pepsi Generation was a pipe dream. The world remains pretty much Coke’s oyster owing to the unequaled taste and distribution reach of its flagship beverage, and this most recent ad will certainly reaffirm that fact.
Ho ho! For now, everyone is happy drinking Coca-Cola’s Kool Ade and getting all choked up watching its cinematically-brilliant ads. And, yes, America the “Great Satan” still remains The Beautiful and will likely remain so for generations to come. China, the world’s Islamic jihadists, and those Philippine Senators who presumed to rid the Philippines of its American military infestation in 1991 will have to deal with that reality.
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