Did Coca-Cola take creative license to nix drag queens in favor of showgirls for its 2013 Super Bowl advertisement?
Coke debuted its "Coke Chase" ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday night. The commercial features several groups of characters competing to clench an icy cold drink in the desert. Among the competitors: men on camels, cowboys on horseback, a "Mad Max"-type zooming on a motorcycle and showgirls riding in a bus.
Queerty correlated each group to a popular desert-themed film, such as "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Mad Max;" however if the glittering girls in the pink bus are supposed to be from "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," then Coke got the representation all wrong, the outlet notes.
What’s that you say? You don’t remember a movie with showgirls in a big pink bus riding through the desert? ... It’s pretty evident Coke was referencing Priscilla in its Super Bowl ad. (The showgirls pop up at about 0:24.) But, fearful of alienating football fans with images of guys in drag, the company swapped in leggy Rockettes. (Ironically the showgirls won the online contest that allowed viewers to determine who got the cola stash.)
The 1994 film-turned-Broadway-hit "Priscilla" tells the story of two drag queens and a transsexual woman who travel across the Australian Outback in a tour bus for a gig in the middle of the desert.
Whether or not Coke purposefully changed the characters of "Priscilla" to target a certain audience is unclear. (The Huffington Post reached out to the company for comment but has not yet received a response.) However, the advertisement has faced backlash for other facets.
Arab-American groups have criticized the soda company for its racist representation of Arabs in the "Coke Chase" ad, and other groups have highlighted the problem of perpetuating stereotypes.
"The problem with the ad is that it relies on stereotypical characters to tell their story,'' Chris Lehtonen, president of Asterix Group, an LGBT and multicultural marketing firm, told USA Today. "While it may not be blatantly racist, the fact that it pits these groups against each other in the ad is insensitive. It is trying to sell their product at the expense of these groups. There are much better ways to tell the story."
Coca-Cola spokeswoman Laura Thompson, who admitted that Coke's Super Bowl ad took a "cinematic" approach by invoking characters from films past, responded to the backlash.
"Coca-Cola is an inclusive brand enjoyed by all demographics," she said in an email to Reuters. "We illustrate our core values, from fun and refreshment to happiness, inspiration and optimism across all of our marketing communications."
Also on HuffPost:
"You're born naked and the rest is drag." Can't get enough of the <em>legendary</em> RuPaul? Check out <a href="http://www.rupaul.com/bio/index.shtml">her website</a> and follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/RuPaul">@RuPaul</a>.
"Our kind looks into a mirror and visualizes something entirely different from what's actually there. Not to confuse drag with transsexualism, but there is another character inside us, which only we can see and we're prepared to endure pain and derision to create our visions. So drag can teach others to think outside the box, use our imaginations, to act on instinct and to have the courage to do all of the above. I imagine that all of these traits must've come to play at the Stonewall riots. 'Imagine' and 'must've' are my attempts to make sure you know that I'm not old enough to have been around back then!" Love the Lady Bunny? Check out <a href="http://www.ladybunny.net">her website</a> and follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/LADYBUNNY77">@LADYBUNNY77</a>.
"Don't take yourself so seriously. Enjoy the shade that is being thrown your way. Remember, the more shade that is thrown your way, the less chance for skin cancer." "RuPaul wasn't kidding when she said what other people think of you isn't none of your god damn business!" "The biggest tip I ever got was from the great Lady Bunny…Retire!!!" Can't get enough of Sharon? Visit <a href="http://sharonneedles.com/blue/">her website</a> and find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SHARONNEEDLESisDEAD?fref=ts">Facebook</a> and Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/SHARON_NEEDLES">@SHARON_NEEDLES</a>.
"Drag is spiritual, it is ancient and it's a fucking blast. What began as an escape from reality for me, now feels more like a reconnection with my inner self, like going to church. It is primal; drag, flamboyance, and flair are part of many indigenous cultures, used often to magnify the male prowess and libido. It is individual like a fingerprint and should be worn with the fiercest intention. As the great actor Alan Cumming once said to me many years ago: 'Do it with a look,' (said with a Scottish accent) which I believe means 'Do it your way, be authentic, and own it.'" Need more Raja in your life? Check out <a href="http://www.artofraja.com/mainmenu/">her website</a> and find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/RajaOfficial">Facebook</a> and Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/sutanamrull">@sutanamrull</a>.
BeBe Zahara Benet
"Drag, if done right, could benefit you in more ways than one. What is the right way? The right way is how you feel & you being comfortable. Set boundaries and stand by them. A piece of advise I will share with you, from personal experience is: Don't lose yourself. Be true to you and be proud. Drag is an art and you are the canvas. No matter how you paint or perform, you are what matters. Criticism will come in both good and bad. Take whatever it is and use it to your advantage. Drag has the ability to give you a different sense of self-esteem." Want to connect with BeBe? Find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/BeBe-Zahara-Benet/71492090660?fref=ts">Facebook</a> and on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/BeBeZaharaBenet">@BeBeZaharaBenet</a>.
Drag has taught me: 1) You don't always have to like the people you work with. Co-exist. Velma Kelly. 2) Brain trumps mouth every time. Think about what you say before you say it. 3) Fight when you have to fight, duck and cover when you can. Survival tactics. 4) Do what you love because nothing else will ever make you happy. Mantra. 5) Ease up on yourself, because most people are WAY more screwed up than you. Revelation. Love Chad Michaels? Check out <a href="www.chadmichaels.com">her website</a> and find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chad-Michaels-Fan-Page/315231001825725?fref=ts">Facebook</a> and Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChadMichaels1">@ChadMichaels1</a>.
"Growing up and coming out under the pressures of Latin culture was very difficult. As a child, I was constantly being bullied for being different. It was so hard and difficult that it made me change my mannerisms in order to avoid the hostility. I changed to the point that I became a different person. Discovering drag was a doorway to escape, releasing all that energy that was locked up inside for so many years. I'm extremely grateful I discovered the art form of drag. Drag gave me back a true part of myself. It gave me a reason to understand the true meaning of the word PRIDE, and how important it is to show your true colors." Want to keep up with Nina? Check out <a href="http://ninaflowers.com">her website</a> and be sure to find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ninaflowersfans?fref=ts">Facebook</a> and Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/DJNinaFlowers">@DJNinaFlowers</a>.
Chi Chi LaRue
"My Love of drag transcends the stage or DJ booth for me! Drag helped me come out of my fat boy shell and embrace who I was. Drag is all about expression and individuality and as far as I'm concerned, anyone who has the "balls" to put themselves out there is already a star! I think it should be a requirement of life to don drag at least once. Work out your inner CHER!" Keep up with Chi Chi by checking out her <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chi-Chi-LaRue/105459015821">Facebook</a> page and following her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/DJChiChiLaRue">@DJChiChiLaRue</a>.
- Keep Trying: "It took me five years to finally get on RuPaul's Drag Race. Either the casting directors got sick of seeing my rotted audition reels, or persistence pays off. Either way -- don't give up." - Tip: "No really -- tip everyone. The waitress bringing you your fifth bloody mary; the drag queen mush-mouthing to Donna Summer; the lady who cleans the makeup ring from out of your hotel sink. Tip them all, and not just 20 percent either. It's good karma -- and people who don't tip have small wieners." - "Don't take any wooden nickels: Not sure what this one means, but it seems like reasonable advice." Keep up with Alaska by visiting <a href="http://www.alaskathunderfuck.com">her website</a> and following her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/alaska5000">@Alaska5000</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/AlaskaThunder?ref=ts">Facebook</a>. Oh, and be sure to watch her on "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season Five now airing on Logo.
"When you know who you are, where you are going, where you came from, what you are doing and why -- it is very hard for you to take other people's critiques (requests) or personal attacks seriously. You just won't give a damn. What is the point in trying to do what everyone else is doing? They are already doing that. Do you, boo. You better work... Harder!" Extra Tips: "Prior preparation prevents piss-poor production! (This is why I'm always late. I leave everything until the last minute even though I know better.) Can't afford a new push up bra? Wear three old bras instead. Use one to lift the knockers up. One to bring them together. Then one to smooth them all out! Boop boop.. You've got bigger boobs!" Stay in touch with Vicky on her <a href="https://www.facebook.com/thevickyvox">Facebook</a> and by following her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TheVickyVox">@thevickyvox</a>.
"Drag can be thought-provoking, moving and sometimes even frightening; but drag should always be entertaining. My drag tip - be creative, be entertaining, be proud! I live by the expression -- laughter is the best medicine!" Want to keep up with Sherry? Check out <a href="http://sherryvine.com">her website</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/MissSherryVine">YouTube page</a> and Twitter account <a href="https://twitter.com/MissSherryVine">@MissSherryVine</a>.
"Drag has given me the experience to open up to my artistic side and to express myself as a human being. I find that these garments, these clothes, are really really neat. It's like my body is a canvas. Don't let things hold you back and always be open because things are always changing. Take what you got and use it. You're the canvas and use it and be creative. Always shoot big and aim high!" Want to keep up with Tammie? Check out <a href="http://tammiebrown.net">her website</a> and find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tammie-Brown/178743402175891?fref=ts">Facebook</a> and Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/thetammiebrown">@thetammiebrown</a>.
"Pretend you're the best -- point blank. When I'm in drag, I always say, 'They live in my world. I don't live in theirs.' But don't be shady unless somebody comes for you or tries to. 'I'm not a bitch, but if you're a bitch, I'm the mom of all of them.'" "Echa pa lante!" Keep up with Yara by checking out <a href="http://www.yarasofia.com">her website</a> and finding her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/YARASOFIASEASON3">Facebook</a> and Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/yarasofiapr">@yarasofiapr</a>.
"Drag is about having fun. If you're having fun with it and enjoying yourself, others will too. Even if you're a booger queen. Just be the best damn booger out there! And the same is true with life in general. Also: When in doubt, toss some glitter on it." Want to keep up with Pandora? Check out <a href="http://www.pandoraboxx.com">her website</a> and find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/thepandoraboxx?fref=ts">Facebook</a> and Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ThePandoraBoxx">@ThePandoraBoxx</a>.
"It's not my business what people think about me. Show biz and the drag scene can be very back biting, and if you let people's opinions of you dictate how you feel about yourself, you are screwed. No matter what size you are, it is all about attitude. When you walk into the room, own it girl! And when you walk out, sell it baby! Give them one last impression that will make them weep." Want to keep up with Hedda Lettuce, "The Queen of Green?" Check out <a href="http://heddalettuce.com">her website</a> and find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hedda-Lettuce/44392675843?fref=ts">Facebook</a> and Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/HeddaLettucenyc">@HeddaLettucenyc</a>.