Sales Here with Cynthia Harley

Communications student exploring sales and advertising

Coca Cola Ad Prompts Patriot Uproar

Patriotism…the word and the way in which Americans choose to display it varies from person to person. The concept of what is unpatriotic has been prompted by, of all things, Coca Cola’s recent Super Bowl advertisement.  

The ad features “America the Beautiful” being sung in multiple languages and now it’s coming under fire for being unpatriotic.  Whether your opinion is one of disdain or appreciation, the commercial poses a whole other concern via a marketers perspective.  The question becomes, how universal should international businesses make their marketing campaigns?

Coca Cola is a pioneer of international marketing, be it that they are a recognized brand in virtually all countries.  For them the question is not where should they expand but where haven’t they expanded?  

The “America the Beautiful” ad could not be aired internationally with warm reception.  So why would Coke choose to air an ad that is neither solely American geared nor universal during the Super Bowl?  It simply doesn’t fit into any niche.  Moreover, the controversy surrounding the ad has completely taken away from the product. 

Sure, the company’s Twitter feeds are a buzz with comments.  I would have to disregard a controversial ad as the appropriate means for boosting social media presence.  However, I do not think the marketing specialists were expecting controversy.  I think Coca Cola was piggy backing off of their strong international ties, while simultaneously appealing to America’s cultural diversity. 

I believe there are only a select few brands who can get way with an ad causing a nationwide uproar without long-term ramifications.  After all just because a product is internationally recognized, does not mean it has the same brand image from country to country.  Coca Cola is lucky that their marketing strategy doesn’t involve much customization per market.  

I would love to know how surprised the corporate hierarchy of Coca Cola was by some American’s reactions to the advertisement.  I extend the question to you, is Coke’s 2014 Super Bowl ad offensive?  


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