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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 4
 Previous   Next 
by: Duckman from: New Mexico
February 04, 2014 8:33 PM
The United States of America is a Nation of immigrants. But in an organized society we unite through a common language. When visiting other countries I have never arrogantly expected everyone to bow down to me and speak my language. We must unite and assimilate to the nation we are in. Speak English in this country. Coke will not get my business I love this country it is beautiful. Why does Coke support separatism and division in our great Nation?

by: Don Long
February 04, 2014 8:09 PM
America was formed by folks from other countries. This ad shows how accepting we are of people from all walks of life. No matter what race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. If you were offended by this ad, you don't need to live in this country.

by: jlangley from: Usa
February 04, 2014 6:47 PM
How awesome was it but I hate to break it but since when did we go back to the intolerance of 1600s did not the English language come from Brittan? Since when did we become nazis here? OH HAIL ENGLISH AND THE WHITE WAY no? Isn't that what you jerks are saying.... want to send every one who isn't american blooded.... better trace you lineage... 5.00 says it came Europe.... go back to england.... simple.. but you might to learn tolerance prior to getting there... just saying

by: DeWayne Walker from: RAPID City SD
February 04, 2014 6:38 PM
I really do not care if the ad displayed some singing martians, it is a patriotic song, and, thus entitled to be sung in our native tongue of English. What next to sell a soda, our national anthem sung in pig Latin? I for one will never buy another coke product, besides Pepsi is better!!!!

by: Trisha Walker from: RAPID City SD
February 04, 2014 6:13 PM
The ad was an insult to every legitimate American. Coke can kiss my you know what and will never get
another sale from me. Go Pepsi!!!!




by: Kyuu
February 04, 2014 3:57 PM
To anyone offended by this commercial, go learn and study a foreign language for once. There's more to this country, let alone planet, than a white society.

by: Bbb from: Paris
February 04, 2014 3:24 PM
The negative reaction shows how much hate americans have in their hearts. How racists they are, and the lack of respect for others that they have. The commercial is beautiful. While in Europe people speaks more than one language and try to educate themselves about other cultures; americans try to avoid education.

by: A.M.H from: Idaho
February 04, 2014 1:59 PM
I am 57 years old a retired Army vet and I'm a America of Mexican heridage and was raised to speak English first and I was a life long coke drinker but after that commercial never again

by: bastetsmom from: USA
February 04, 2014 1:40 PM
E Pluribus Unum. How many know that it's on our currency? That it is NOT in English? That it means, "out of many, one"? The Founding Fathers were right. Our country is made strong because we can get along despite our diversity, unlike the sectarian violence we see in the Middle East. Those who fan the flames against diversity are the ones weakening the country.

by: Deb from: New Mexico
February 04, 2014 1:12 PM
The ad included a Native American young person and was great! Keres is a Native American language and has been spoken here in the American Southwest for centuries long before any English words. The ad was beautiful and there is nothing wrong with being bilingual. People forget that the English language is also a foreign language in America.
Comments page of 4
 Previous   Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs