Commercials are always a fun part of the Super Bowl, and have been for decades, as ad agencies look to make their mark and build more recognizable brands. With last night’s game turning out to be a blowout — and inevitably a huge disappointment — some of the commercials were able to steal the spotlight more than ever before. None drew more attention from viewers as Coca Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” ad, which prompted a huge range of responses on Twitter.
The commercial itself featured a number of different images that, in essence, were meant to showcase the broad range of diversity in the United States. Not only was “America the Beautiful” sung in several different languages, but it also showed images of two dads roller skating with their daughter which, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), was the first Super Bowl ad to ever feature a gay family and appears to be catered to young audiences. Most of the polarizing reactions, however, stemmed from the languages used.
Almost instantly after the commercial aired, Twitter started to light up with responses. According to Jenna Mullins of EOnline, “apparently [it] did not sit well with some people on Twitter. #SpeakAmerican instantly started trending on Twitter.” Some of the Tweets, for lack of better terms, were pretty brutal. For example:
Nice to see that coke likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language. Way to go coke. You can leave America.
Tyler Wyckoff (@tylerwyckoff24) February 3, 2014
Dear Coke commercial…. DO NOT sing my Country’s song of Freedom in a different language. ????
Devon Mitchell (@DevvMitchell11) February 3, 2014
Despite the #SpeakAmerican trend, not all of the Twitter feedback was negative, and there were many who came to Coke’s defense:
Ashamed that people are upset by the Coca-Cola commercial. We’re a melting pot y’all. I think it was a good portrait of our diversity.
Small Town Belle (@BelleTownUSA) February 2, 2014
Thanks @CocaCola for reminding us that we are beautiful because of and not in spite of our linguistic diversity. #AmericaIsBeautiful
Ashley Karlsson (@AshleyKarlsson) February 3, 2014
Though one of the most talked-about commercials, “It’s Beautiful” was not considered one of the Super Bowl’s top ads. In fact, it only ranked 17th in the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter poll, which is comprised of thousands of pre-registered voters. Coke was able to crack the top-10 with its “Going All the Way” spot, just ahead of rival Pepsi.
Once again, Budweiser stole the show with their famed Clydesdales. The biggest difference this year was that, to increase the cuteness factor, they added puppies. “Puppy Love,” which aired in the 4th quarter, scored nearly three-quarters of a point higher than the second-place Doritos ad.
Of course, Coke’s idea was never to offend anybody, at least outwardly. “For 127 years, Coca-Cola has been proud to be a part of bringing friends and families together while memories are made,” said Katie Bayne, President of Coca-Cola North America. “With ‘It’s Beautiful,’ we are simply showing that America is beautiful, and Coke is for everyone.”
It is hard to say whether or not the commercial’s creators knew that there would be such a massive response, but Bayne certainly seemed aware of its reach and potential.
“We hope the ad gets people talking and thinking about what it means to be proud to be American,” she said.
Considering the Twitter buzz, mission accomplished.