Skip to content

Coke TV ad elicits Filipino pride . . .and some chuckles

By Dennis Clemente Reprinted from

NEW YORK—By now, you’ve heard how the multilingual version of “America the Beautiful” in Coca Cola’s Super Bowl ad caused indignation among conservatives who are still uncomfortable with cultural diversity. Many Filipinos, however, were distracted by more pressing matters about the ad.

First, Tagalog was making its debut in this highest-grossing TV spectacle, so it was a big deal. Second, something went awry in a particular translation. They couldn’t believe they were hearing “above the fruited plain” as “sa ibabaw ng mga prutas,” which drew chuckles from Filipinos.

The literal translation, “on top of, surface of, or above the fruit,” clearly did not pass muster and could have been translated as “saganang kabukiran,” “masaganang lupain,” or “masaganang kapatagan.” Problem is, this is not conversational or colloquial Tagalog or Filipino, the language of the advertising world, which this writer also inhabits.

A workable TV-friendly alternative was suggested. On Facebook, Rene Casibang, a former Filipino TV staffer, asked why not “sa taas ng mga prutas sa kapatagan?” Relatable enough, but here’s another problem: It’s too long for a 60-second spot that needs to include other languages to an American song that is used to its slow pace.

Read more:

Follow me: @dennisclemente