News / USA

    Multilingual Coke Commercial Sparks Debate

    Coca-Cola's Super Bowl commercial sparked a lively debate. (Coca-Cola)
    Coca-Cola's Super Bowl commercial sparked a lively debate. (Coca-Cola)
    While the general consensus was that this year’s Super Bowl ads were mediocre, an ad from soft drink giant Coca-Cola sparked a lively conversation.

    Coke’s ad features the song “America the Beautiful,” which is often considered the second national anthem, sung in several different languages by a multiethnic cast of singers. The song was sung in English, Tagalog, Spanish, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres and Senegalese-French. The commercial also featured a gay family.

    The Super Bowl has become the place to debut funny, moving or even controversial advertisements. Many non-football fans look forward to the game – for the commercials. For a 30-second spot, companies pay up to $4 million to hopefully grab the attention of the millions watching American football’s championship game.

    "For centuries America has opened its arms to people of many countries who have helped to build this great nation," said Sonya Soutus, senior vice president of Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola North America in a statement. "We believe [the ad] is a great example of the magic that makes our country so special, and a powerful message that spreads optimism, promotes inclusion and celebrates humanity – values that are core to us and that matter to Coca-Cola."

    Both detractors and supporters of the ad took to the web to voice their opinion.

    On the critical side, people complained that the song should only be sung in English, while those who liked the commercial embraced its multicultural bent.

    Conservative former U.S. congressman Allen West lamented the inclusion of other languages.

    “If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing ‘American [sic] the Beautiful’ in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition. This was a truly disturbing commercial for me, what say you?” he wrote in a blog post.

    Glenn Beck, a controversial political commentator, said the commercial was meant to “divide us, politically.”

    Social media was buzzing with talk about the commercial, including many who didn’t like it.





    But those who liked the commercial haled the message of inclusion and diversity





    Coke just seemed happy people were talking.

    "We hope the ad gets people talking and thinking about what it means to be proud to be American," said Katie Bayne, president of Coca-Cola North America, in the release.

    Here's the full commercial:

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 4
        Next 
    by: Kay from: New Mexico
    February 07, 2014 10:16 AM
    America the Beautiful should be sung in the country's language? Well, it's not English it would be the Pueblo language of the Rio Grande because they settled America first and the rest of us came centuries later. So get over it, " first come first serve right," and " the 14th amendment." I thought it was beautiful brought
    tears to my eyes to see we accept all, "Statue of Liberty."

    by: Ami from: IN
    February 07, 2014 9:17 AM
    When in Rome do as the Romans....when in USA do as Americans....here we speak english. If that is not something you want to do or learn stay in rome...

    by: Juli14 from: Peru
    February 05, 2014 4:39 PM
    I don't see anything bad with the ad. In fact, it is a nice iniciative to promote inclusion in a country that is a mix of so many diverse cultures.

    On the other hand, America is the name of the whole continent that include North, Central and South America, not just USA.

    by: will carmack from: dallas,texas
    February 05, 2014 10:29 AM
    It is sad that hundreds of thousands of Ameican soldiers fought and died for America the beautiful to have it desecrated by being sung in a foreign language. Would Russians or Germans want their national song sung in English. Nikita Krushchev once said in the 60s during the cold war that America would fall without a single shot being fired and I believe the old boy may just be right. Sad commentary for American soldiers lying in cemeteries all over the world.

    by: Zack Zack from: Portland
    February 05, 2014 5:28 AM
    You're all idiots.

    by: William from: NC
    February 05, 2014 12:23 AM
    Speak English is so out of date!!! Move on people! Si! Oui! Ja! Get out of your little dark box and learn another language like 3/4 of the rest of the world!!!

    by: Annie from: TX
    February 04, 2014 11:50 PM
    Most other countries in the world have multiple languages spoken and taught. We only show our own ignorance with comments about speaking only English here. Particularly since we don't even speak our own language well.

    by: Robyn from: USA
    February 04, 2014 9:34 PM
    Those who scream, "THIS IS AMERICA, SPEAK ENGLISH" are very out of touch with the world as it is today. When you took a trip to a foreign country I doubt that you bothered to speak the language of that country. Now with that said, It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL commercial very much reflective of AMERICA TODAY. It is a changing world and this country was founded on immigrants as well as the fact that the woman who wrote the song had a FEMALE life partner. So get the facts, read your history and educate yourself on the global issues facing us today instead of making irresponsible snide comments that don't mean anything.

    by: Chilidog from: Everywhere
    February 04, 2014 9:04 PM
    How many of you were aware that the song "America the Beautiful" was written by a liberal, progressive lesbian?

    Truth

    by: Duckman from: New Mexico
    February 04, 2014 8:45 PM

    Please help us to love each other for who they are. Just because we want a united country does not mean we are raciest. Do you mean to tell me that Coke could not show ethnic diversity without butchering a beautiful American anthem. Through the video we can still see the ethnic diversity in English.
    Comments page of 4
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora