Culture & Entertainment

Coca-Cola's inclusive Super Bowl commercial sparks outrage

By: Simone Castello
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Coca-Cola's inclusive Super Bowl commercial sparks outrage

By: Simone Castello

If you're like me, you probably watched this past weekend's Super Bowl strictly for the commercials and the halftime show. Every year, I look forward to seeing how the big name companies up their game during their purchased time-slots. From Kia to Cheerios to Oikos and more, I really enjoyed the roundup and efforts put in by each company this year. Including Coca-Cola. However, it seems a lot of people didn't share my sentiments about the latter, apparently. The company sparked a firestorm over social media because some people were upset that America The Beautiful was sung in different languages, as opposed to just English. Here's the commercial that Coke ran during the Super Bowl: [HTML1] What did you think? Personally, I thought this was a beautiful effort on Coca-Cola's part to be inclusive and to highlight the point that North America (not just the U.S.) is a beautiful multicultural mosaic of people who share a common interest in their product. I truly believe this was an effort to unite everyone rather than tear people apart. They even included a hashtag as part of the campaign -- #AmericaIsBeautiful -- to engage people over social media. I bet Coca-Cola wasn't expecting people to use the hashtag as a means to promote hate and racism, as most people argued that the song should only be sung in English. They even started their own hashtag -- #boycottcoke. Some of the mean tweets included things like: "WTF. America the Beautiful was meant to be sung in our accepted language. Drink @pepsi". (I didn't realize 'American' was a language.) There were more shocking ones, like these: "When did Coke get bought out by the terrorists?" "Don't you love how Coke has turned our (American) national anthem into EVERYONE else's? #boycottcoke" First of all, I don't believe Coca-Cola, or anyone else for that matter, intends on changing the American national anthem. You're not going to show up at school or at a game and hear it in any language other than English. Secondly, what does terrorism have to do with any of this? In fact, some of the most absurd tweets started with: "I'm not racist, but..." Listen: If you're  going to make a racist comment, you are racist. It's as simple as that. That said, I do want to highlight that those people who showcased all this hate, were in turn, targets in their own game. Just check out all the tweets from people who thought the #boycottcoke chaos was a little too extreme. This one was a favourite: "You should with a reason like "it has too much sugar" or "I'm giving up soda" and not "I don't understand culture" reasons." I'm wondering now: Would we have the same reaction in Canada, if the commercial highlighted diversity with O Canada -- our national anthem? Please share your thoughts in our comments section, below. I'd like to think not, but I believe it's a good discussion to have. Keep in mind -- Coca-Cola never intended for this to be a memo that the song is changing to accommodate all international languages. They were simply trying to showcase how beautifully diverse we all are. It's a shame to see how badly it all fell apart, and highlighted, instead, that there's still a large group of narrow-minded and hateful people out there, who will continue to avoid the bigger picture. If you've read this far and are outraged by my thoughts, please listen to what this American newswoman, so eloquently, had to say about the matter.
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Coca-Cola's inclusive Super Bowl commercial sparks outrage

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