Multilingual Coke Commercial Sparks Debate

While the general consensus was that this year's Super Bowl ads were mediocre, an ad from soft drink giant Coca-Cola sparked a lively conversation.

Coke's ad features the song "America the Beautiful," which is often considered the second national anthem, sung in several different languages by a multiethnic cast of singers. The song was sung in English, Tagalog, Spanish, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres and Senegalese-French. The commercial also featured a gay family.

The Super Bowl has become the place to debut funny, moving or even controversial advertisements. Many non-football fans look forward to the game -- for the commercials. For a 30-second spot, companies pay up to $4 million to hopefully grab the attention of the millions watching American football's championship game.

"For centuries America has opened its arms to people of many countries who have helped to build this great nation," said Sonya Soutus, senior vice president of Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola North America in a statement. "We believe [the ad] 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 us and that matter to Coca-Cola."

Both detractors and supporters of the ad took to the web to voice their opinion.

On the critical side, people complained that the song should only be sung in English, while those who liked the commercial embraced its multicultural bent.

Conservative former U.S. congressman Allen West lamented the inclusion of other languages.

"If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing 'American [sic] 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. This was a truly disturbing commercial for me, what say you?" he wrote in a blog post.

Glenn Beck, a controversial political commentator, said the commercial was meant to "divide us, politically."

Social media was buzzing with talk about the commercial, including many who didn't like it.

VOA News / Feb. 04, 2014 08:30 KST