Last Sunday, most Americans were tuned into the SuperBowl to watch the game, halftime show and commercials. While the game was surely upsetting, Coca-Cola’s ad during the SuperBowl seemed to have caught the most attention from consumers and fans alike. The commercial featured people of all ages, ethnicity, and lifestyles. Over the footage was the patriotic song, ‘America the Beautiful,’ sung in multiple languages. The commercial’s main message was a celebration of Coke Classic and the variety of meanings that this takes on across cultures around the nation, but also around the world. While the commercial celebrated the diversity of America, many consumers missed the point entirely and took to the media to complain about Coke’s efforts.
Coca-Cola is a company which is about as much of an American icon as you can get. The beverage name brand’s logo is a universal symbol, which has achieved global recognition. The company, which brought us the “I’d like to teach the world to sing” commercial decades ago, has caused a lot of controversy over this ‘America is Beautiful’ campaign. Most of the complaints sounded something like, “We speak ENGLISH here, IDIOTS.” While it is easy to brush off these comments as ignorant, Coca-Cola had it right in this commercial. Namely, America has always been a multi-lingual country. Coca-Cola has been able to achieve mass, global appeal, but in America, Coca-Cola is losing out on wealthy, conservative consumers. In order to maintain its share in the market, Coca-Cola knows that it has to appeal to a wider consumer base than just caucasian Americans. For example, Coca-Cola used this ad to target ‘heavy users,’ which tend to come from low income areas. By targeting heavy users, Coca-Cola is hoping to promote its beverage by welcoming everything that America is made of: diversity.
To learn more about Coca-Cola’s SuperBowl controversy, read this article from The Guardian.