Every year, Coca-Cola produces a few Super Bowl commercials. While they typically don’t stand out as exceptional, they are usually light-hearted and fun, never receiving much criticism. This year, however, Coke’s ad brought out a very surprising, and almost scary amount of vitriol, which is strange when you consider that the ad was clearly a positive one:
TIME described the ad perfectly:
Coca Cola’s entry into the Super Bowl ad campaign had a message that was, as it were, Coke Classic: it celebrated the many kinds, colors, lifestyles and origins of Americans who are nonetheless one. Over a scene of these many Americans, it played a patriotic song: not the National Anthem, but the more accessible, singable “America the Beautiful.” It showed us a panoply of American faces, young, old, brown, white, straight, gay (it included what are said to be the first gay parents depicted in a Super Bowl ad), in cowboy hats and hijabs, playing, eating, and exploring all-American vistas.
It was maybe a little sappy, but it was also, well, beautiful, as was the music, sung in a succession of single voices and languages.
Unfortunately, many Americans decided that they didn’t like the ad because apparently “true Americans” only speak English — many viewed it as unpatriotic, and #cokesucks and #boycottcoke both went trending on Twitter:
Coke you MESSED up! America the Beautiful is ENGLISH sung! NO MORE COKE FOR THIS FAMILY!!! #Cokesucks
— Lisa Cobb (@LisaCobb18) February 3, 2014
— Garon (@GRonSchnepel) February 3, 2014
Dear Coke: THIS IS AMERICA AND WE SPEAK AMERICAN #boycottcoke
— Daniel West Coast (@daniel_shelley) February 3, 2014
#boycottcoke thanks for desecrating our national anthem
— ggh7676 (@peakjava) February 3, 2014
So was Coca-Cola saying America is beautiful because new immigrants don’t learn to speak English?
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) February 3, 2014
— Turk (@ErolEagaoglu) February 3, 2014
— Brian Angelo (@BADBOY324) February 3, 2014
— Brad Jones (@BradJones760) February 3, 2014
Wtf!!! That song is not to be sang in foreign languages!!! #cokesucks
— Jacob Grinstead (@JacobWGrinstead) February 3, 2014
Another reason not to drink that filth….that song should be English only…sorry India..#cokesucks
— Justin Northrop (@IowaHawkFan85) February 3, 2014
Good job coke….im now switching to Pepsi for good. Way to ruin an American song. #cokesucks
— Will Simpson (@Wsimpson8566) February 3, 2014
That was the most un-American commercial I have seen #cokesucks
— Tristen McMillan (@mc_tristen) February 3, 2014
To be clear, America is a pretty diverse country that has been built upon a mix of cultures and people for over 200 years — the tweets above just showcase an irrational lack of acceptance of diversity. I have a feeling that Coke is going to do quite well in sales in the near future — there are a lot of rational people out there too that haven’t lost their minds:
Reading #cokesucks makes me want to buy as much Coke as I can this week. Also, don’t read it: trust me.
— Bernie Michalik (@blm849) February 3, 2014
This #cokesucks thing is ridiculous. What are you all so afraid of? Differences are okay. Kudos to Coke..I may buy MORE stock now.
— Super-ish Librarian (@bookgirl1209) February 3, 2014
If that Coke commercial featuring America the Beautiful performed in multiple languages offends you, you are what’s wrong with this country.
— Luke Adams (@luketadams) February 3, 2014
— Kelsey Elizabeth (@kelseytrejo) February 3, 2014