National Edition

Coke commercial sparks social media outcry, national talking point

Published: Monday, Feb. 10 2014 2:50 p.m. MST

In this Nov. 3, 2004 file photo, bottles of Mexican Coca-Cola fill a prominent spot on the shelves of the Tarascas Latino Supermarket in Lawrenceville, Ga. Americans who buy the glass bottles of Coke exported from Mexico may have been dismayed by recent online reports that an independent bottler that supplies the drinks planned to switch from sugar to fructose to cut costs. But Arca Continental, the Mexican bottler in question, stressed in a statement that it has no plans to change the sweetener for the "Coca-Cola Nostalgia" bottles it exports to the U.S.An extended version of Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial that featured a diverse group of people singing the national anthem in different languages, like English, French and Hindi, is also going to run during the 2014 Sochi Games.

Ric Feld, Associated Press

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A commercial promoting diversity is inspiring a variety of responses.

An extended version of Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial — called “It’s Beautiful” —features a diverse group of people singing the national anthem in different languages, including English, French and Hindi. And it's going to run during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, NPR reported.

“That commercial prompted a lot of shouting on social media, which you could boil down to two words: speak English,” said Renee Montagne of NPR.

There's much disdain for the advertisement. On social media, many called for Coca-Cola to feature only English speakers. USA Today published a couple different reactions to the commercial.

The Public Religion Research Institute doesn’t see anything wrong with the commercial, though, saying the country is made up of a pool of different religious groups and people from different backgrounds, according to The Christian Post.

"Although there appears to be a lack of consensus on the appropriateness of the Coca-Cola advertisement, it is clear that the religious and ethnic landscape of America is changing to become increasingly more diverse," PRRI said in a statement, according to The Christian Post. But the PRRI also was quick to note that about 31 percent of Americans aged 18 to 29 years old are unaffiliated.

David Greene of NPR said the commercial shouldn’t surprised by the reaction, given the way the United States is changing.

“This is part of the discussion of how the country is changing and what it stands for,” Greene said. “So, if it is predictable that when Coke puts out an ad like they did that they're going to get the kind of reaction that they have received. Do advertisers actually account for that in their strategies with ads?”

That may be true because the commercial became a national talking point after the Super Bowl, according to Lisa Granastein, managing editor of Adweek, ABC News reported.

“Everybody was talking about it,” she said. “It was really part of the national conversation.”

How does Coca-Cola feel about the commercial, though? Well, airing the longer version of the advertisement in the Olympics is the company’s way of standing by their message, ABC News said.

“‘It’s Beautiful’ provides a snapshot of the real lives of Americans representing diverse ethnicities, religions, races and families, all found in the United States,” said the company in a statement, according to ABC News. “All those featured in the ad are Americans, and ‘America the Beautiful’ was sung by bilingual American young women.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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