By Mary Kate Buckman
Coca Cola is a company with a history of working toward fairness, inclusion, and embracing diversity. The corporation shed light on a common issue and expressed their beliefs during the 2014 Super Bowl when they aired the “It’s Beautiful” advertisement and it caused a major controversy. “@CocaCola has America the Beautiful being sung in different languages in a #SuperBowl commercial? We speak ENGLISH here, IDIOTS” one Twitter user criticized. Many Americans did not support the diversity displayed in the commercial; particularly the various languages presented. Despite this backlash, Coca Cola aired this advertisement once again during the 2017 Super Bowl. After such negative reactions the first time, why would a company subject themselves to that again? Coca Cola has aired the ad once again with a strong motive in mind. They aim to make a political statement in light of the recent election. As the new presidency has divided America, Coca Cola has presented themes of unity and equality.
The visual component of the commercial shows numerous scenes of diverse groups of Americans. It displays people with a great deal of variation in age, race, and sexuality throughout the publication. For example, it shows young girls invested in a movie, a hispanic family enjoying dinner, and a gay couple roller skating with their daughter. Accompanying the collection of diverse images, America the Beautiful is sung throughout. The song is heard in various different languages, which emphasizes the idea of diversity.
First, people notice the diversity displayed in the ad. As different scenes of Americans are shown, America the Beautiful is sung in numerous languages. The combination of diversity and a typical, well known American tune creates a message of unity. Although we are all different, we are all American. This distinct symbolism is significant because it is a statement regarding the recent election. The 2016 election caused major divisions in our country and has caused many controversies. Political division is evident during this time and Coca Cola has used advertisement as a way to publicly state their opinions on some of the issues that America faces today. They support inclusion of all people and will sacrifice some of their business (from conservatives) to express their strong beliefs
The psychoanalytic aspect of the advertisement is also effective. The ad implies that our id, or instincts and impulses, is related to drinking Coca Cola. Regardless of one’s age, race, or sexuality, it is everyone’s natural inclination to drink Coke. This idea is successfully portrayed through the visuals of different demographics drinking Coca Cola. Additionally, an emotional appeal included in the ad is the use of “emotional transfer”. We are shown happy people and transfer that feeling to the product by association and, therefore, correlate Coca Cola with happiness. In addition, the commercial appeals to a wide range of people because a diverse population is represented throughout. Although a majority of groups are represented, it has more of an appeal to minorities because they don’t always get this much representation in the media. Furthermore, some minorities have been put in danger as a result of the election. This ad may give hope that our divided nation may one day find peace and we will all be united.
Coca Cola was founded in 1886 by Dr. John S. Pemberton. Their sales have risen from approximately 9 per day (1886) to 1.9 billion per day (today). This leading beverage company also spends a lot of money on advertising each year. In 2014, Coca Cola spent 3.499 billion dollars on advertising. This far surpasses their competitors, such as PepsiCo which spent 2.3 billion dollars and Dr. Pepper and Snapple which spent 473 million dollars in 2014. Coca Cola spent 8 million dollars on the “It’s Beautiful” commercial.
This advertisement first aired during the 2014 Super Bowl. Major controversy followed the broadcast because many people believed that America the Beautiful should only be sung in English. The representation of different languages offended many people. Despite this backlash, Coca Cola decided to air the ad during the 2017 Super Bowl. Once again, controversy arose some people “couldn’t stand for either a language other than English or a skin color other than white being so prominently featured in the commercial” and #BoycottCoke took over Twitter.