February 3rd, 2014
11:33 AM ET
11 months ago

Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad ignites online debate

(CNN) – Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl commercial Sunday night was at first glance a moving tribute to America’s diversity, featuring a full minute of ordinary people of different races and ethnicity doing ordinary American activities, as the classic song “America the Beautiful” plays throughout the ad.

Nevertheless it became one of the most polarizing moments of the night. Why? The song was sung in different languages in addition to English, which sparked an uproar on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/Rob2TurntFoster/status/430323585635606529

https://twitter.com/mmahathy/status/430322688481968128

https://twitter.com/janicehr55/status/430318726039097344

Former Rep. Allen West explained why he and others were so upset by the ad.

“The last thing any of us should want to see is a balkanized America,” he wrote in a blog post Monday morning. “Furthermore, it has to be of concern that we have Americans who lack the resolve to take a stand for our borders, language, and culture.”

West, a Republican from Florida, was not petitioning for a boycott of Coca-Cola products, but argued the song should have been sung in English and showed U.S. military members of diverse races.

“If you truly want to show a diverse commitment to service, sacrifice, and honor that enables us to live in ‘America the Beautiful’ that would have been rated the best commercial advertisement of the Super Bowl.”

And as Washington grapples with tackling immigration reform, the ad also became fodder for that ongoing debate. Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham tweeted a reference to Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, whom she has criticized for supporting some GOP efforts to resolve the illegal immigration problem.

Others were quick to blame Republicans for making hay about the ad. Former White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe tweeted:

His tweet, of course, brought its own wave of criticism, as some compared it to the controversial MSNBC tweet last week that assumed conservatives would be offended by a Cheerios ad about a biracial family.

While the Coca-Cola commercial certainly had its critics, it also had plenty of people coming to its defense, including Republicans, such as Sen. Lisa Murkowski ‏of Alaska.

The Heritage Foundation, a high-profile conservative think-tank, also tweeted out support for the ad Sunday night.

The debate continued Monday morning with plenty of other people defending the ad—and blasting those who took issue with it. The term “America the Beautiful” became a trending topic on Twitter in the United States.

https://twitter.com/littlegirlLiv/status/430151418876817408

People also stood up for part of the ad that showed a gay couple with their daughter. It was apparently the first time a gay family appeared in a Super Bowl ad.

"Including a gay family in this ad is not only a step forward for the advertising industry, but a reflection of the growing majority of Americans from all walks of life who proudly support their LGBT friends, family and neighbors as integral parts of 'America the Beautiful'," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement.

Peter Shankman, a branding and social media consultant, predicted Monday that the dust-up over the commercial will soon subside.

“The people who are online criticizing it and the racists and the homophobe, and all those–that’s going to be gone. They’re not going to be talking about this in three weeks. The people that it resonated with are the people who are actually going to spend the money to buy the product," he said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Or, in other words….


Filed under: Allen West • Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (441 Responses)
  1. The REAL TRUTH...

    “The last thing any of us should want to see is a balkanized America,” he wrote in a blog post Monday morning. “Furthermore, it has to be of concern that we have Americans who lack the resolve to take a stand for our borders, language, and culture.”
    ---------------------–
    Yes, Allen.. we do have them. Look no further than your own party who has done nothing for this country in the last 5 years but whine, complain, and act like juveniles while pointing fingers at the POTUS for not instantly bringing the country out of the MASSIVE RECESSION they created with their reckless spending, huge deficits and doubling of the national debt. Folks who live in glass houses...

    February 3, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Dead Bear

    Any individual who's name contains the words "bro" or "Republican representative from Florida" should not be taken seriously... It's a commercial! Who cares?!

    February 3, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    "I will be drinking Pepsi after your Super Bowl commercial. We welcome all people but being American should be an honor."
    -------------------------------------
    I should be honored because the country I was born and raised in is responsible for the extinction of an entire race, the enslavement of another race & relentless unprovoked wars against an entire religion? Yeah right!

    February 3, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. HenryMiller

    “The last thing any of us should want to see is a balkanized America,”

    We're already well along in the process of at least social balkanisation. Urban Americans daily express their contempt for rural America, and the favour is returned. Coastal Americans express disdain for fly-over Americans. "Poor" Americans express their envy of and vindictiveness toward wealthier Americans.

    This is what happens when an overbearing federal government tries to cram us all into one-size-fits-all governance. One size doesn't fit all, and among those for whom the straitjacket is too confining, the effort fuels resentment if not hatred.

    February 3, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Conservatives have no idea what their own hypocrisies and biases actually sound like. The ad just simply doesn't paint a picture of a future America that they don't want to see come to pass.

    February 3, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. Ron L.

    It just AMAZES me the things that get people so excited. We are proud to be American, a land of diverse immigrants, but OFFENDED if "America the Beautiful" is sung in a different language?? It REALLY does not make sense!!! Have any of those that complained thought that maybe, just maybe, they (the immigrants) are just so proud and excited to be here that until they actually learn English, they would sing the song in the language they learned as they grew up. IT IS A COMPLIMENT, NOT A THREAT!!!

    February 3, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    (hyperbole alert)
    Coca-Cola was very irresponsible to put this ad up without a big disclaimer for the Tea Party. They are poor innocent immature souls who think that this country is all-white and of the same religion (check out polls on their membership demographics!!). And you just put up different cultures, probably with some different religions, in different languages without warning! I think raw Freedom of religion, thought, and origin is too much for them. Have Pity!!

    February 3, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Seems MSNBC shouldn't have apologized last week for their tweet about the biracial family in that other ad (was it Cheerio's?). But of course, the GOP/Teatrolls got all butthurt about it. But oh looky, MSNBC was spot on and (some of) the conservatives out there decided to prove it all over again with their reactions to this new Coca Cola ad.

    February 3, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    Conservatives have no idea what their own hypocrisies and biases actually sound like. The ad just simply doesn't paint a picture of a future America that they don't want to see come to pass.
    ----------
    Too late! It's here. Real Freedom is tough for some conservatives to take but we gotta keep moving forward.

    February 3, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. quinLee

    Is there anything left of the GOP besides intolerance and hypocrisy?

    February 3, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Pam from Iowa

    I'll bet the GOP didn't like the bi-racial couple in the Cheerios ad either!! Oh no! Is someone going to come and censure me!!!

    Get over it!!!! White men do not rule the world anymore!!!! Yeah!!!!!!
    It is sad that so many people who call themselves American hate other Americans!

    February 3, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Jojola

    Might I suggest to those who found the coke ad offensive, please never visit Disneyland and take the "It's a small world" tour. Spoiler alert: It's song in about every language imaginable. I can't believe what ignites fiery in some people.

    February 3, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -HenryMiller

    “The last thing any of us should want to see is a balkanized America,”

    We're already well along in the process of at least social balkanisation. Urban Americans daily express their contempt for rural America, and the favour is returned. Coastal Americans express disdain for fly-over Americans. "Poor" Americans express their envy of and vindictiveness toward wealthier Americans.

    This is what happens when an overbearing federal government tries to cram us all into one-size-fits-all governance. One size doesn't fit all, and among those for whom the straitjacket is too confining, the effort fuels resentment if not hatred.

    *************
    people disliking each other is not a result of government, its human nature. What is on exhibit here is a textbook example of an ideologue using a one-size fits all approach to every subject, even when its not needed.

    February 3, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Smeagel4T

    America the Beautiful? It's becoming increasingly evident that the illegal aliens should have been booted out of the country in 1492 by the lawful natives.

    February 3, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Vincent

    A majority of English words are borrowed from other languages, so think about that next time you're dipping your crackers or bread in your Fondue..

    February 3, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. heironeous5@yahoo.com

    If you read through the tweets, some of them refer "American the Beautiful" as our national anthem when really it is "Star-Spangled Banner." Just shows the level of intelligence of these people.

    February 3, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Smeagel4T

    I'm center-left, and I respect Sen. Murkowski. I may not agree with all her views, but I still respect her efforts to be a voice of reason in the growing wilderness of the GOP.

    February 3, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Unknown

    If you read the tweets, some of them refer the "America the Beautiful" as our national anthem, when really it is "Star-Spangled Banner." It just the level of intelligence they have.

    February 3, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. Not American but...

    Last time I checked, English isn't the official language of the United States?

    February 3, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Lost in analytical

    When did hate for our fellow man become an American value?

    Growing up every person was welcome in this nation as long as they worked hard and tried to make themsolves and thier familes better. Growing up in a republican household and voting republican for a long time i was tought tht every person had value, Every culture haf value and that they made this coutry better by being here. IN the last 10 years in Ohio I have seen that change. For the most part (not all by any means) republicans now lay claimto the Christian right and the defenders of American values and do so with hate and bigotry.

    THIS IS NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION

    WE DO NOT ALL SPEAK ENGLISH

    WE ARE ALL AMERICANS

    Stop the hate and bigotry and start working towards real solutions to the major problems that this nation faces. Singing a song in multiple languages reflects what this nation is and always has been. A melting pot of cultures, ideas, hopes and dreams. ONly when we get back to respecting that can we move forward.

    February 3, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Smeagel4T

    Note that Plouffe was only responding to craziness initiating by right wing extremists. He didn't initiate the "conversation".

    February 3, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Sammy Michaels

    I'll be buying more coco-cola just to counter the people who didn't love this ad. Go Coke!

    February 3, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Maria

    What keeps one from liking the Coca-Cola commercial is their pride. The bible said "pride comes before the fall". Wake up from ignorance people.

    February 3, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. Sammy Michaels

    I'll be buying more of this product just to counter the people who didn't love this ad. Thank you for the Superbowl's best ad.

    February 3, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. smith

    Its a commercial, talk about making something out nothing.smh.

    February 3, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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