Dear Coca-Cola Company,
I’m writing you today regarding the commercial you recently aired during the Super Bowl and again last night during the Olympics opening ceremony. Your feel-good, multilingual “America the Beautiful” rendition sure has stirred controversy among the American public, hasn’t it?
A handful of folks were flustered by your portrayal of the US as a cultural melting pot. Don’t mind them. ALL efforts toward a more tolerant, integrated and loving society ought to be commended.
Thanks for that.
What so many seem to have missed, though, is that any time a multi-billion dollar corporation makes a multi-million dollar move, it does so strategically. And when a giant conglomerate paints itself as a lover of all races, it automatically wins favor among minorities and non-racist majorities alike.
And that’s good for business.
In other words, if most everyone in the U.S. loves you and thinks you love them back, they will continue to support and fund you. The more well-loved and well-funded you are, the more empowered and equipped to carry out your latest mission:
Rapid and thorough invasion of the global market.
This mission is blindingly evident from my current vantage point.
You see, the U.S. is my homeland, but I currently live in southern Mexico, where your products are ridiculously popular. In fact, your popularity as a soda manufacturer is paralleled only by your growing popularity as water distributor.
Here’s where your front of interracial love dissolves into a heap of diversions and dishonesty:
- By privatizing, monopolizing and contaminating public water supplies (as you have in many areas of the world), you create need for your products within already-disadvantaged and dependent communities.
- By charging more for your bottled water than your sodas and sugary “juice” drinks, you encourage addiction, further dependency and deeper embed yourself within local cultures.
- By plastering your brand on village shacks, giving handouts to build your brand as benevolent and pushing excessive sugar consumption in areas with little to no access to health education, you’ve helped solidify Mexico’s obesity and diabetes rates as some of the highest in the world.
The last time I rode a bus through the mountain villages of Chiapas (the most impoverished state in this country), I snapped a few photos through the glass-paned window. In an hour’s time, I saw not a handful, but hundreds of advertisements that show your true heart for the citizens of this planet.
To be fair, I’ll not be exclusive. Your main competitor is giving you a run for your money:
It’s almost as if you are trying to convince minority groups in Mexico of your loyalty to their beautiful country.
Every day, I observe young children running errands for their mothers. The number who return home wobbling beneath the weight of a three liter bottle is staggering.
Every day, I see another one of your distribution trucks restocking dirt-floored mom and pop shops with your brilliantly marketed recipe for poor health and disease.
Every day, I breathe through my frustration and try my hardest to correct toward compassion, having witnessed yet another manifestation of your trusted influence.
My beef with your recent commercial boils down to this:
- Claiming to be in support of cultural diversity, then compromising water supplies in the world’s poorest regions is inconsistent.
- Painting yourselves as supporters of ethnic minorities, then painting indigenous communities with propaganda for profit is dishonest.
- Winning the hearts and trust of the American public, then marketing your products (using the resulting profits) to the developing world with power disproportionate to your level of social responsibility is unethical.
So, while I commend you for bringing awareness to the need for total cultural acceptance, let’s be honest with the diverse and beautiful American people about the singular motivation behind your message:
Because if you really cared about all ethnicities, you’d put warning labels instead of promises on every bottle.
If you really cared about immigrant minorities, you’d stop pushing poison on their far-away families.
If you really cared about racial diversity, you’d take your billboard off Lupita’s roadside shack and replace it with health info graphics or diabetes symptoms or a fresh coat of white paint.
And if you really cared about the people living in the US from all over the planet, you’d find more mindful ways to spend your money than putting up a false front during a football game.
But then, none of that would be good for business, and without an ice cold Coca-Cola in our hands, how would we remember that our country is beautiful?
Concerned U.S. (and global) citizen,