Using Word’s Insert Comment feature (in the Review tab), annotate this article, using Toulmin’s structure and terms.

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“Coca-Cola’s Multilingual ‘America’ Ad Didn’t Hit Any Wrong Notes”


When spending more than $4 million for 30 seconds of America’s attention, one’s first job is to assure that whatever is put in front of it is remembered 30 seconds later; ideally, days later.

For Coca-Cola, call it mission accomplished.

One of Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl ads featured “America the Beautiful” sung in eight different languages. They were: English, Tagalog, Senegalese-French, Hebrew, Mandarin, Keres Pueblo, Arabic, and Spanish.

Well done. We’ll defend that stance in just a moment.

5 Before that, it’s worth noting that portions of the Twitter universe lost their collective mind after the commercial aired. The hashtag #f—coke started trending hot as irrational ‘Murricans utterly misplaced their patriotism and, ape-like, started heaving poop at one of America’s iconic brands.

Freedom means the right to make an ass of oneself, allowing others as gently as possible, to point out the fact.

America: English! That’s what some Twitterers were saying; that’s what they wanted. A patriotic song rendered in America’s language.

There are, according to statistics cited in a Huffington Post article (see, 381 languages spoken in these United States. That is a potent passel of patois in which we Americans freely engage. One of those used in the commercial, Keres Pueblo, is a Native American tongue that was used in this nation before there was a hint of a nation.

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We can’t fathom that the argument should gather much traction here in the Lebanon Valley, steeped as we are in our Pennsylvania German traditions. Yes, our forebears learned English, but PA Dutch still gets trotted out for occasional use in church services and when watching stuffed groundhogs predict winter weather, as happened just this weekend.

10 There is nothing wrong with multilingualism. If anything, we don’t spend nearly enough time learning at least a second language. That is both an American-centric and educational failure.

The first thing the commercial proved is that the song sounds pretty good regardless of the language in which it is sung. The second thing it proved is that there are individuals who believe in the words even if the language in which it was originally written is not the one that came first for them.

Yes, we believe those living in the United States should learn English. It is not the official language but it has been, since the nation’s inception, the accepted common tongue, and it will continue to be. Our inclusive society requires some desire on the part of others to be included. Learning English is a part of that inclusivity.

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But it does not mean that we are forced to unlearn those things that defined us before we came to be Americans. We can be just as patriotic, and we can act just as freely, if we sing those words in English or in any of the languages listed above and any of the others that were not.

In the final analysis, for Coca-Cola, this was money well spent. Here we are, still talking about that ad.

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