Coca-Cola took a risk when it played a controversial one-minute commercial during Superbowl XLVIII. The ad featured people from various backgrounds singing “America the Beautiful” in their native language, something that angered many viewers. Outrage was clearly visible on Twitter when many claimed America’s national anthem should be sung in English, and English only.
Let’s just ignore the fact for a moment that our national anthem is not “America the Beautiful”. Our national anthem is “Star Spangled Banner”. Points for trying, though.
This advertisement reminded me of another controversial commercial from Cheerios shown about a year ago. The ad featured an interracial couple’s daughter who asks her mom if Cheerios are good for your heart. When her mom confirms this, the daughter piles the cereal onto her father’s chest while he is asleep, causing him to awake with some confusion.
Adorable right? Well, apparently not everyone felt the same way. Much like the Coke ad, many viewers were outraged that a couple featuring different races was shown. Some even opted to boycott the cereal because of this commercial.
Really? Yes, really.
It baffles me that fifty years after the Civil Rights Act has been passed this type of behavior still exists in America. Has society not evolved at all during this time period? I mean we have a black president for Pete’s sake! Oh yeah, I forgot. There was outrage over that, too.
It’s unlikely that Cheerios was trying to make a statement; they were probably just trying to appeal to both the white and black demographic. The controversy surrounding these two commercials definitely got people talking, so maybe they were more beneficial than harmful after all. I mean, the goal of brand recognition is to get people to know your product and know it well, even if controversy is the cause of it.
As for me? Both Coke and Cheerios will retain my business. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sudden craving for Honey Nut Cheerios.