Super Bowl XLVIII: Football fans came for the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, and stayed for the commercials and food. The big names in advertising didn’t disappoint this year, entertaining fans as the gap in the Broncos-Seahawks’s score grew and grew — but some commercials still drew more attention than others, and not all for the reasons their sponsors (likely) intended.
One of the most notable ads that ran during the game was Coca-Cola’s (NYSE:KO) commercial, titled “It’s Beautiful.” The song, “America the Beautiful” was the soundtrack to the ad that followed scenes of iconic American life, but it was the different languages that the song was sung in that attracted many people’s consideration, and caused them to turn to social media to share their feelings.
Many viewers took issue with the Americans in the commercial who sang in Spanish and other languages often spoken in the country. They shared their feelings via the hashtag #AmericaIsBeautiful on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), either resolutely saluting Coke and its commercial, or blasting the company for encouraging the multilingualism of our nation. The Kansas City Star highlighted both sides of the argument in its report Monday, and gave the example of one tweet, “Nice to see that coke likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language. Way to go coke. You can leave America” in one camp, and other tweets “I loved the coke commercial, I think it shows how America really is, a combination of cultures from all the world #AmericaIsBeautiful” in the other. Searching #AmericaIsBeautiful on Twitter yields many differing responses.
Safe to say I’m never drinking coke again after they sing an american song in another language for the damn super bowl, buncha pricks
— Mike Russell (@Russelton) February 3, 2014
If that Coke commercial featuring America the Beautiful performed in multiple languages offends you, you are what’s wrong with this country.
— Luke Adams (@luketadams) February 3, 2014
It’s safe to say that Coke’s ad earned more attention than the company initially bartered for, or rather, maybe that’s exactly the response the company was chasing after. The hashtag #AmericaIsBeautiful was trending all Sunday night into Monday morning, and as many companies know, big press is usually better than no press, especially when consumers are praising a company for taking a risk and championing a controversial cause.
The other noteworthy thing about Coke’s commercial was that its montage featured two gay men roller-skating with their daughter. According to the Kansas City Star, Coke’s commercial was the first Super Bowl ad to feature a gay family, and GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis called it a “step forward for the advertising industry.” Coke plans to debut a 90-second version of this commercial during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Friday.