Coca-Cola Gets Trolled (And Why I'm Appalled)

Like all of America, my Sunday night was preoccupied with watching the Super Bowl. Well, those were my initial intentions. With a transparent lack of care on who won, my girlfriends and I ended up applying fresh coats of paint to our nails, chatting about the amazement that is Bruno Mars and, of course, rating every commercial we saw. The men weren't annoyed at all.

To be honest, I wasn't not blown away by many ads, but there were a few shining stars in my eyes. Budweiser was my favorite with its pairing of puppies & a heartwarming salute. The runner up? Coca-Cola and it's multi-lingual rendition of America The Beautiful. I personally thought their focus on embracing the melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and languages that make up America was well done. To focus on highlighting unification under the stars and stripes on a night where everyone comes together to watch football was applaud worthy.

I first noticed the story trending on Facebook. Coca-Cola Super Bowl Ad Ignites Online Debate. "Wait, what? The spot showing diversity was controversial? Nooo...I must have missed an ad," I thought. After some exploring, I realized that "online debate" is a kind phrase for what happened - it was in reality a racist meltdown.

Check out a sampling of responses below. For more, read the BuzzFeed article on the topic.

Just...wow. After reading what was happening I walked away from my computer feeling confused, alarmed and even angry. How could an ad with such good intentions be attacked so brutally? How could hundreds, thousands of people be so ignorant? Between "terrorist" accusations, outrage for the ad showing a gay couple, and suggestions to "Speak American", I feel like I've been living in a bubble. It's not that I didn't know that these types of opinions are out there, it's just that I'm shocked at the level in which it's happening. Senators are getting involved. Quite frankly it makes me sad.

In graduate school we learned that changing perceptions is done most effectively through education, so I'd like to take a moment to look at a few facts. America is a country predominantly made up of immigrants. As of January 2014, seventeen states recognized same-sex marriage as legal. "American" is not a language, "English" is in fact the proper term, and there are approximately 337 languages spoken in the United States. Just because someone is from the Middle East does not mean they are a terrorist.

I don't typically get heated about political topics on this blog, but this really struck a cord with me. I'd rather speak up than remain silent and ignore what is going on. With that, I'll leave you with a few closing thoughts of my own. The problem lies not in the ad but in those who felt it was a problem. America is beautiful for many reasons, diversity included, and to embrace that is the only way we'll become a better nation. We have to get better. We have to be better. We have to start acting like leaders. Do you know where action begins? With thought. 

Thoughts? Reactions? Let's chat.
 (Feel free to email me if you'd rather keep your thoughts confidential! hello@isntthatcharming.net)


  1. Thanks for being so genuine in this writing, love the way you put it and oh-so true.

  2. The response to this has been so outrageous to me–I mean seriously, have these people been living under a rock for the past 20 years? America is diverse–that's what makes it so amazing.

  3. You couldn't have said it better. I saw this ad, and thought wow - this is awesome, and then I saw a post on Facebook, and I couldn't believe the controversy. I was literally stunned, and so let down at some of the comments people were making.

  4. Having been born American and growing up there & now living in the UK, it has opened my eyes even more to the problems that the US still has!! We have to learn to see ourselves firstly as - Americans!! But, too often looking from the outside in now - you see Americans refer to themselves as African-Americans, or people say 'Well, I'm Irish or Sottish' when they've never even set foot in these countries!! We are a melting pot indeed, with strands from all over the world...but at the forefront, we need to see ourselves as Americans first...not white, black, mexican or Irish or otherwise...we are Americans! And then after that...be proud of being American and knowing that your ancestors came from Ireland or Scotland or Africa and have made the country what it is today!! So many people around the world go to all kinds of lengths to get to America for that freedom, only to find it to be a mirage in some ways. Stop seeing each other as colours, races, sexes, sexually orientations, but as people...American people!! People who strive to achieve their goals just like anyone in any country or place. We need to stop thinking like black people just got off the boat or gay people just landed from the moon, both have been here from the beginning of time just like any other race. Love & understanding is the only thing to heal this problem. Until we do that & stop judging...it'll never get any better!! xx

  5. P.S. also, I would like to see the thought of America only being for Americans to stop...America was built on immigration...there's no reason why it shouldn't be that way now...if people want to come to the 'land of opportunities' they should be allowed to just as our ancestors did. And not be treated like terrorists...because those people were extremists just like the KKK, but I don't see anyone wanting to kick them out of the states :)

  6. This is a wonderfully written post and I agree with you 110%! When we were watching the game this was probably one of our favorite commercials. We saw as celebratory of America and ALL its people. I could not believe the reactions I saw. Like I'm sorry...this is 2014, how are there still people thinking like this?! I am appalled by some of the comments I've seen.


  7. I was actually really surprised at all the negative feedback it got. I understand people are stupid, but I didn't think THIS would bother them THAT much. Ugh

  8. The amount of prejudice that still exists today is disgusting. From homophobia to racism, it all makes me very sad. Thank you so much for saying something about it.

  9. I was disappointed in the negative feedback this ad received. It's sad how many people in this country are clinging desperately to the "America is only for straight, white people" mentality. My biggest concern is that people with that kind of fear inside of them are passing it on to their children :(

    aka Bailey

  10. i agree with you 100%. i used to work in marketing for coca-cola and felt so proud when i watched the ad. i was absolutely shocked it caused so much outrage and again, brought out the worst in so many of our fellow americans. my hope is that with every coming generation {ours included} we continue to become a country of love and tolerance, not of fear and ignorance.

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  11. ugh. i totally agree. its SO upsetting to see that much negative reaction! america is a melting pot and that's what makes it great. i get supppper defensive about ppl throwing the word terrorist around too. my husband is iranian, he and almost all of his family were born in Iran and although he is not religious, i get upset when people jump to conclusion that "all" muslims or middle easterners are terrorists. can't we just treat each other with respect?! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  12. I couldn't have said it more perfectly. I missed this commercial so have clearly been under a rock the past few days! I also try not to get too get too revved up on political issues, but this just makes me so sad, frustrated, angry...so many emotions all at once. The fact that there was such a negative response goes to show that you are not always going to please everybody (those other everybody being extremely ignorant human beings that clearly don't understand that their ancestors were immigrants too). Just when you think we're heading in the right direction! Great post, thanks for sharing.

  13. Thanks for sharing, dear. It's good to get a healthy conversation going about a huge topic that has just been placed in the forefront of our minds.

  14. Love that you addressed this. I missed the commercial during the Super Bowl, and like you, re-watched it again to make sure I understood what the "controversy" was about. It's sickening to think that people in America are still so ignorant and hold such unpatriotic opinions. It's even worse that our society is so permeated by social media and that these people can blast their opinions to the world. Then again, if we don't know they feel that way, how can they be educated about English v. American or learn to address their issues with racism and outdated (and always inappropriate) prejudices.


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