Coke Thinks “America is Beautiful,” but Americans May Not Be

Many of this year’s Super Bowl commercials had very American themes, and on the social media frontier, controversy often breeds popularity. In response to the Coca Cola commercial with the hash-tag #AmericaIsBeautiful, Twitter was abuzz with feedback about the advertisement.  Viewers either loved or hated Coke’s approach to how and what America is.

As a viewer, the product placement seemed sparse in the opening of the advertisement, and the focus did not appear to be on selling the product or brand.  For years, Coca Cola has been on Interbrand’s Top 100 Global Brands, giving them the freedom to explore a new frontier and take bigger risks in advertising.

But why this theme? Why such a risk? Was it worth it?

Social media had a loud response to Coca Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” advertisement. Viewers posted some hateful, racist, and exclusionary tweets. The commercial included a gay family, as well as lyrics and images including non-Caucasians and non-Christians, angering many viewers. This outrage created a whirlwind of communication and discussion on social media. Because Twitter operates in real-time, within a few minutes of the commercial’s run during the Super Bowl, hateful tweets were posted left and right, including the following:

  • “That coke commercial sucked. Mexicans, terrorists, jews, and niggers are not   ‘American’.”

  • “Nice to see that coke likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language. Way   to go coke. You can leave America.”

  • “@CocaCola Since when is it okay to sing ‘America the Beautiful’ in any language other   than ENGLISH!! #cocacola #FAIL”

  • “Still confused as to why they were singing about America in all those foreign   languages in the Coke commercial. We speak English…”

 However, to others tweeted in support of Coke’s forward-thinking and all-inclusive commercial, including gay and foreign families. Tweets that supported Coke’s take on what makes America the modern, melting pot, that so many of us call our home included:

  • “Boycott Coke because it’s terrible for you, not because they ran a Super Bowl   commercial that reminded you that not everyone is white. #Coke”

  • “Regret I don’t speak more languages. Seems there are people out there proud that       they barely speak one. #cokecommercial”

  • “If you didn’t like the Coke commercial, it’s safe to say that you’re ignorant to what     America is all about. #AmericaIsBeautiful”

  • “1. America the Beautiful was written by a lesbian. 2. There is no official language for America. 3. Bigots annoy me.”

This polarizing and controversial advertisement proves the power of social media and its relation to TV. By including the hash-tag #AmericaIsBeautiful at the end of the commercial, Coca Cola gave viewers a way to discuss the commercial, but they could not have anticipated the strongly adversarial reaction to this commercial that had aimed to paint the picture of an idealized, diverse America, embracing the many different cultures and ethnicities that make up this nation.  In trying to show that America is beautiful and that Coke is for anyone and everyone, in less than 24 hours Twitter has helped this Super Bowl commercial reach over 2 million views, as well as gain mention on traditional media outlets.


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