Coca-Cola’s Superbowl Commercial Is A Microcosm Of The Idea Of America

If you want to understand our culture, watch our commercials. Via Salon, Michael Shaw writes:

With the West in an endless struggle in the Middle East not just for resources but mindshare, we see the Coke bottle — the symbol of globalization and American commercialism — sitting there in the hot sand, the object of desire for, first of all, a hapless Gulf prince/camel jockey. Resonating with [the looming] immigration debate, we then have a Hispanic desperado evoking the desert as if the province of thirsty Mexicans looking north.

It’s funny but not-so-funny when you consider that what America has to offer is, in fact, a mirage. What the ad people realize I’m sure is that, after more than a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of “quenching” — no matter how much you “put down” the Arabs and Islamists — couldn’t be more ironic.

18 Comments on "Coca-Cola’s Superbowl Commercial Is A Microcosm Of The Idea Of America"

  1. I am thinking the cannon in the bus is the High Fructose Corn Syrup delivering the diabetes, obesity and acid reflux disease that it causes. With all this symbolism it makes me wonder if they found Richard Brautigan and got him to make this commercial. Title ideas? In Corn Sugar, or Trout Fishing in The Dessert.

    For those scratching their heads this is a reference to the 70’s which seems like yesterday to me but…

  2. I can’t even begin to tell you how much better my life is without television.When you realize it’s a powerful machine designed to control, it’s easy to get rid of it. It’s a pleasure to know nothing about products and “celebrities”. It’s an even greater pleasure to never mistake advertising for culture.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | Feb 5, 2013 at 9:45 am |

      But how will I fill the void in my life, placate my crushing boredom and fuel my constant need to distract myself from my own thoughts and feelings?

  3. As Bill Hicks said “if you are in advertising or marketing, kill yourself”

  4. I’m starting to sympathize with the recurring objection, to use of the word ‘Islamists’.

    Why not just say Muslims?

    • kowalityjesus | Feb 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm |

      Its an intentional misnomer by disgruntled westerners, I think. It used to be “Mohammadians.”

    • ….for the same reason we say “serial killer” instead of “clown”

      • John Wayne Gacy fan? Or just open bigot?

        • I think you missed my point. An Islamist is a sort of fundamentalist bigot:

          An Islamic revivalist movement, often characterized by moral
          conservatism, literalism, and the attempt to implement Islamic values in
          all spheres of life.

          A Muslim is a person of the Muslim faith:

          A believer in or adherent of Islam.

          Very few clowns are serial killers.

          • I understood your point clearly, and I thought it was a contemptuous comparison–especially so now that you’ve explained it out for me in clearer terms.

  5. “Vote now to decide who wins” That’s the most accurate representation of American culture, because when you vote, you guarantee your own loss.

  6. kowalityjesus | Feb 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

    Does anyone else agree that this commercial is patently bad and wouldn’t entertain a 4-year-old? The degradation of the institution of American Entertainment is disastrous for the nation’s soft power.

    • That’s only true if you think of commercials as entertainment.

      • Ittabena | Feb 4, 2013 at 3:20 am |

        Yeah I have to agree, advertising is much too sinister to call entertainment, though it does try to hide behind that label as best it can. The rumor has long been that subliminal advertising is illegal but if they are marketing ecoli bacteria excrement to us as artificial sweetener in 5000 products on our supermarket shelves despite 92 warnings by the FDA – – do you think anyone is watching the advertisers? And if they are, there is surely a revolving door between Madison Ave. and the watchdog group.

  7. BuzzCoastin | Feb 3, 2013 at 7:55 pm |

    wow, they crammed that with more psyop per minute
    than I’ve ever seen
    and just like Amerika
    don’t forget to vote for the candidate of their choice

  8. dumbsaint | Feb 3, 2013 at 8:02 pm |

    With all the Mad Max and Priscilla references, your microcosm looks like Australian cinema.

  9. Matt Staggs | Feb 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

    Wonder why our cultural navigator didn’t offer any guidance regarding the Road Warrior guys?

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