Coca-Cola ran a commercial shortly before kickoff of the Super Bowl between the Falcons and Patriots on Sunday night. The commercial’s soundtrack was “America the Beautiful,” the song written by Katharine Lee Bates well over 100 years ago. It wasn’t a new commercial, but a rerun of one that came out in 2014.
The song’s lyrics are sung, alternately, in English, Spanish, Keres, Tagalog, Hindi, Senegalese French, and Hebrew. They’re overlaid by videos of people who were not all white. Maybe the ad, now, is a quiet political stance in the age of Donald Trump, though the advertisement came out before his election. Maybe it was just advertising, geared with the most straightforward goal possible: selling Cokes.
The company’s statement on the ad last year:
The premise of ‘It’s Beautiful’ can be simply stated: America is beautiful and Coca-Cola is for everyone. It celebrates Coca-Cola moments among all Americans and features snapshots of American families. We believe it’s a powerful ad that promotes optimism, inclusion and celebrates humanity – values that are core to Coca-Cola. “It’s Beautiful” shows just a few of the ways Americans enjoy our brand and how Coca-Cola brings families and friends together every day.
Since “It’s Beautiful” first aired in 2014, we have continued to run it during major TV events. “It’s Beautiful” has run across television and cinema broadcast – including national holidays of patriotism in America, such as July 4th and Memorial Day, and major moments in national and international sport and entertainment, like the football playoffs, New Year’s Eve, and several Olympic Opening Ceremonies.
Anyway, lots of people on Twitter were upset, as happens on Twitter. The hashtag #BoycottCoke took off virtually immediately, with hundreds of messages rolling in before the commercial had even ended. They couldn’t stand for either a language other than English or a skin color other than white being so prominently featured in the commercial.
We’re not in the mood to feature this racist drivel in the body of this post. You can execute a Twitter search by clicking here, and you’ll find lots of bad things written by people who, for some reason, couldn’t bear this commercial.