The controversial “America the Beautiful” 2014 Coca Cola Superbowl commercial filled many hearts with great happiness while others with intense anger.
This coke ad captures several different people of all ages, genders, religions and ethnicities happily interacting with one another across the beautiful lands of the United States. The background song is “America the Beautiful” which is sung in several different languages including Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, Hindi, Hebrew, Keres, Senegalese-French and Arabic. Each scene in the commercial demonstrates a group of people exploring America or enjoying the opportunities present in America all while promoting Coca Cola. One scene pictures a cowboy riding through the mountains soaking up the beauty of America. In these scenes several people sip on coke to introduce the product to the viewer although it is very subtle. The semiotics found in this commercial are strong. Every individual in the ad symbolize the idea of diversity, progression and acceptance. For example, the children symbolize a new way of thinking, the gay couple symbolizes progression, and the background song symbolizes the idea of Americanism that is defined by diversity.
Many people believed that it was disrespectful for a patriotic American song to be sung in different languages. This commercial went viral on social media. In summary, people believe that because English is the official language of the United States a patriotic American song should only be sung in English.
Coca Cola spoke out on this controversy and stated, ““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.” In addition Coca Cola stated, “All those featured in the ad are Americans and “America The Beautiful” was sung by bilingual American young women”. Not only did Coca Cola speak out about the commercial controversy, but also the girls who sang in the commercial. Sushmitha, who sings in Hindi, said, “The message that we’re sending through this video is so beautiful, that we are all the same”. Coca Cola’s goal for this commercial was to spread a powerful message that celebrates the diversity that is found in America and promote unity, not to degrade any American.
From a psychoanalytic approach, this commercial uses key values of the Coca Cola Company including inclusion and optimism to create a feeling of unity and peacefulness in the viewer. After watching this commercial, I felt lucky to live in a place in which people live together despite differences in spirituality, ethnicity, and value. This commercial creates feelings of peace, happiness, optimism, hope, and acceptance for viewers. These feelings are now associated with Coca Cola and grow the reputation of their brand. Coca Cola becomes a symbol of the unity present in America.
Coca Cola makes yearly commitments to immense advertisement spending every year; for example, in 2014 Coca Cola spent $3.499 billion dollars. Investopedia believes that, “[Coca Cola’s] advertising spending and strategy has helped it successfully introduce new products into the marketplace, increase brand awareness and brand equity among consumers. This is evident through the “America the Beautiful” commercial. Although it was expensive for Coca Cola to air this commercial during the Superbowl it shone a very positive light on the brand for many people. In this commercial Coca Cola wanted to reach every citizen in America. There wasn’t a specific group or age of people. This ad reaches white, black, straight, gay, female, male, everyone. Everyone in America should be touched by this ad.
I believe the controversy surrounding this ad was unwarranted. Again, the Coca Cola ad promotes a peaceful message about America. America is a mixing pot full of unalike people, which Coca Cola believes should be celebrated.
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