The Not So Beautiful America – A Mother’s View of the Coca-Cola Commercial Controversy #IStandWithCoke

Coca Cola CommercialWhile many watch for the love of the game, others tune in just to see the new commercials that air on Super Bowl Sunday.  This year, like many before it, offered up some very thought provoking commercials. Some were funny, some a bit raunchy, and others were just altogether heartwarming. However, one commercial has sparked a controversy that I highly doubt was at all anticipated.

The Controversial Coke Commercial

Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl commercial aired right after the game ended and the Seahawks claimed their victory. Although the beverage giant’s commercial provided a lovely, multicultural rendering of “America the Beautiful,” the aftermath of this commercial’s release has been anything but.

The commercial above is the one responsible for the controversy. If you listen, you will notice that the commercial is sung in several different languages. These languages include English, Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, Senegalese-French, Hebrew, Mandarin, Keres and Arabic. The voices you hear singing in the commercial? Those are the voices of young female children, all of which live in America and speak English as well as the language of their heritage.

Shortly after Coca-Cola released the commercial, they began receiving comments on their Facebook page, as well as on their Twitter page. Although there were many comments praising the company for their efforts to unite our nation’s people, regardless of race, religion, color, sexual orientation or the language we speak, there were many comments from people expressing their distaste for the commercial. Several actually stated that they would now be banning Coca-Cola products simply because they aired a commercial that depicted a patriotic American song in a language other than English.

Below are some of the comments from Coca-Cola’s Facebook page – and please note that I’m only posting the tamer comments, as many simply are not appropriate:

Coca Cola Commercial CommentsCoca Cola Comments - Super Bowl CommercialCoca Cola Comments - 2Coca Cola Comments 3Coca Cola Comments 3Coca Cola Comments 6Coca Cola Comments 7Coca Cola Comments 8The Story Behind the Commercial

A commercial like this obviously cannot be made overnight. No, this commercial was a project in and of itself – and it was a project that was meant to be something much more than just another commercial. From as far back as I can remember, Coca-Cola has associated itself with the idea of a unified world. Consider the famous line from one of their previous campaigns: “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.” That campaign focused on connecting us to each other. We are a diverse world, but the message was peace and unity. That same message is prevalent in this new commercial, although they depict it in a different manner.

Each and every voice you hear singing in this commercial is the voice of a young female, an AMERICAN child that was chosen to represent the voice and language of her heritage. Each is a child that lives here, learns here, interacts with others here and makes memories here. Each of these children was also very proud to be a part of this project, as evidenced by their comments and actions during the recording process. You can visit the Coca-Cola YouTube Channel to watch the videos associated with the creation of this commercial. Each one shows us another piece of the project in action. I encourage you to view the video below to get a better idea of this project and the thought process behind the commercial.

A Mother’s Perspective on the Coca-Cola Commercial Controversy

Although I’m not a staunch supporter of any soda companies, I do support the message that the Coca-Cola Company was attempting to relay with this commercial. It’s a powerful message that reigns true to me, as a parent. It’s something I feel we should all be striving towards. You can call that message unity, togetherness, love, understanding, appreciation — even world peace. Any or all are fine with me, as I feel those that live with these ideas in mind will have much fuller, happier lives and I support that.

What’s amazing to me is that through these young, vibrant voices and several translations, Coca-Cola Corporation was able to recreate “America the Beautiful” in its own special way – – and I really don’t care what anyone else thinks because I think it is BEAUTIFUL, it is MOVING, it makes a STATEMENT and it sends a message to everyone and TO OUR YOUTH that we are proud to have such a diverse nation. Let me reiterate those words that I placed in all caps because they’re important.

Beautiful, moving statement to our youth.

That is hope. It’s beauty. It’s a testament to our nation and what we aspire to be. But most of all, it’s a gift to our children that can foster a greater love of humanity.

This is a commercial that I’m not ashamed for my children to see. It’s a commercial that I WANT them to see – and I want them to not only see it and hear it; I want them to FEEL the power of its message.

I’m proud that a large corporation feels strongly enough about our world that they’ve spent a countless amount of their time and money to relay this message to the world in a creative way. They are calling attention to what we have to offer: a melting pot of different cultures from all over the world. There is no other nation more diverse than America and we should embrace that fact. The opportunities that we have may be waning, but it’s messages such as this that have the power to spark change.

But that change won’t come if we continue to foster hate and bigotry.

It broke my heart to see the hateful comments on Coca-Cola’s Facebook page. I noticed that many of the negative commenters had profile pictures of an adult and child, indicating that they may be a parent. My question to these people is what is this teaching your children? This version of “America the Beautiful” was sung by children that were proud to represent their nation and their heritage. They were excited, honored and humbled by this opportunity. What will they feel if they read those comments? How will that impact the way that they think about the people of our nation? How will this whole experience shape their future thoughts and feelings?

As parents, we have a duty to our children. As I watched the aftermath unfold, I realized that we do not all look at that duty in the same way. I personally feel that raising my child to thrive in a diverse world is important – not only to me, but to my children, their future and the future of our world. Am I angry that other parents don’t feel the same way? To an extent, yes; however, I am trying to understand why these people feel that this commercial is so negative. Why these people are being so hateful towards something so beautiful and so meaningful to so many.

Have we forgotten that the only people that are not “foreign” to our nation are the Native Americans? I certainly haven’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear a little Cherokee, Creek or Navaho girl singing, but I really wish I had. We all deserve to be represented. Maybe next year they can blow it out of the water and use one or two words from every language in the world.

To further complicate my feelings, I read hateful comments of people stating that they were proud veterans and that they were insulted by the multilingual commercial. I am a strong supporter of our military. Both of my grandfathers were decorated veterans and both, bless their souls, were buried with full military rites. Each time, I teared up as I felt the booms of the 21-gun salute echo off of my body. It reminded me of what they experienced and how they persevered. I felt pride as I watched that flag being folded. It reminded me of what they fought for – and it was not for hatred. It was for our freedoms. Their efforts protected our freedom of religion, petition, assembly and our freedom of speech, which I am thankful for and which gives us all the right to say what we wish, in any language we wish. My grandfathers didn’t fight just for the people that were in our country at the time. They fought for the future of our country. Have we become so arrogant that we’ve given up that fight? I hope not. I expect more for my children. I hope you expect more for yours.

How do you feel about the Coca-Cola commercial controversy? Leave me a comment below!

 

Bloggers – Join #IStandWithCoke

If you’d like to join us in supporting Coca-Cola’s messaging, feel free to link up your posts and be sure to use #IStandWithCoke in your promotional efforts. We appreciate your support of diversity in our nation!

 

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Comments

  1. Tamra Phelps says:

    This controversy was mind-boggling to me. The idea that only English should be spoken in America is nuts! Hey, if you want to get technical about it, we should all start speaking Shawnee or Cherokee or another Native American language! This is a country built on immigration, a melting pot with many languages spoken–yes, you will get along better if you can speak English, but it should NEVER be a requirement or a sign of patriotism.

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