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:

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Comments page of 4
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 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?


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.
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