Beverage giant Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl commercial featuring a multilingual presentation of “America the Beautiful” sparked major online controversy Sunday night, including accusations that the TV spot was “un-American.”
The ad, titled “It’s Beautiful,” featured different scenes from American life, including people sharing a meal, swimming in the ocean, horseback riding, taking a road trip and more, all to the sounds of “America the Beautiful.”
The song, however, was sung in a variety of languages, generating an angry response from some on Twitter who said Coca-Cola should have presented it in English only, and causing users to jump on the hashtag “speakAmerican.”
“Really #coke come on we live in the USA so sing the song in English,” Twitter user @jaredl83 wrote.
“That is the most un-American commercial I have ever seen,” said @B_Wett4.
Here’s a sample of some of the tweets, as curated by BizPac Review:
Former Florida Rep. Allen West also jumped into the debate, penning a blog post on his website in which he called the commercial “truly disturbing.”
“I am quite sure there may some who appreciated the commercial, but Coca Cola missed the mark in my opinion [sic],” West wrote. “If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing ‘American the Beautiful’ in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition.”
West concluded, “This was a truly disturbing commercial for me, what say you?”
At the same time, others on Twitter sprang up to denounce the “racist” response to the ad.
Coca-Cola did not initially address the controversy in a statement to TheBlaze. But later in the afternoon Monday, a representative for the company issued the following comments surrounding furor over the commercial:
“‘It’s Beautiful’ was created to celebrate Coke moments among all Americans who together enjoy ice cold, refreshing Coke. For centuries America has opened its arms to people of many countries who have helped to build this great nation. ‘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. All those featured in the ad are Americans and “America The Beautiful” was sung by bilingual American young women.
We believe ‘It’s Beautiful’ is a great example of the magic that makes our country so special, and a powerful message that spreads optimism, promotes inclusion and celebrates humanity – values that are core to Coca-Cola.”
Meanwhile, in a lesser-noticed aspect of the ad, gay rights organization GLAAD praised Coke for being “gay-inclusive” for featuring “two gay dads roller-skating with their daughter.” GLAAD said it was the first time a same-sex family was depicted in a Super Bowl commercial.
Coke took heat last month for removing images of two grooms from an ad it was running in Ireland.
Featured image via Coca-Cola/YouTube