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Coca Cola's America the Beautiful Multilingual Ad Creates Social Media Firestorm

As much of the nation watched Super Bowl XLVIII, many viewers took to Twitter to voice their outrage or support of Coca Cola’s commercial featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in seven languages.

Coca Cola's America the Beautiful Ad
Coca Cola Feb. 2, 2014

Shortly after the commercial aired, a firestorm of criticism emerged, with Twitter members swearing they would boycott Coke products , while others lashed out at the controversial ad for not having one of the country’s most beloved songs performed in English. Still others are describing the multilingual commercial as “terrorist languages”.

What may be the most talked about commercial during the Super Bowl, social media users are now taking philosophical sides on the issue, with supporters proudly proclaiming America is a melting pot, America IS beautiful and "Xenophobes, America the Beautiful was written by a lesbian", while naysayers, appearing to outnumber the positive comments, issued some comments that many find disturbing - “that’s just un-American”, “sing in English, god dammit”, “we speak English here, idiots” and “that commercial was America the Beautiful being sung in many languages, including terrorist Muslim…way to go Coca Cola”.

Based in Atlanta, the Coca Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, serving more than 200 countries worldwide. Coca Cola knew well in advance of the potential backlash of the multi-million dollar ad, which also was the first Super Bowl commercial ever to feature a gay family. It seems the Coca Cola ad was meant to celebrate diversity in America but the response also reflects a divided nation, some who continue to refuse to acknowledge a bi-racial president. Still, the ad created a dialogue amongst Americans whether or not it’s appropriate to sing the patriotic song in multiple languages and that's quite possibly what the company with a Turkish-American CEO intended to do.

According to a press release from Coca Cola, Katie Bayne, President of the company’s North American brands said “America IS Beautiful and is for everyone. “ The official statement further asserts, the ad “will not end when it fades to black”. Released in conjunction with the ad, were a number of You Tube videos highlighted by individuals who sang “America the Beautiful” in their respective native language, along with a multilingual version of the ad available for purchase on Spotify. Coca Cola is also promoting the #AmericaisBeautiful hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and encouraging supporters to submit photos to a Tumblr site called “America’s Selfie”. Coca Cola also plans to debut a 90-second version of the commercial during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Whether or not consumers will stand by their words by boycotting Coca Cola products is anyone’s guess. Yet it might be difficult to avoid the company's more than 500 sparkling and still brands, such as Diet Coke, Sprite, Minute Maid and Vitamin Water. Despite heartwarming commercials like Budweiser's "Puppy Love" and Hyundai's "Dad Sixth Sense", the commercial most everyone will be talking about on Monday is "America the Beautiful".

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