The end of the semester means the “sociology of music” in my classes. As part of this, I do an experiment to see what songs students will remember when I play the first few bars (i.e. about six seconds). This semester I did this with the version of “America the Beautiful” played at the 2014 Super Bowl in which the first bars were sung in English, and the next few in Spanish. The clip is part of a commercial for linguistic diversity on the one hand, and perhaps more importantly, for Coca Cola.
Anyway, the results! 18/21 of my students said that they recognized the clip. Here is how they identified it though.
1 World Cup Song
3.5 Star Spangled Banner
4.5 Coca Cola Commercial
4 America, or America the Beautiful
1 National Anthem
2 Commercial, or Beer Commercial
1 Christmas Song
1 Child Memory
In other words “America the Beautiful” was rebranded as a Coca-Cola commercial for a number of the students, which I guess is why the Coca-Cola Corporation broadcast it in the first place.
Ironically, only ten months later, the fact the song is not remembered for promoting linguistic diversity, at least by this audience.