Super Bowl XLVIII will go down as a game to remember. For one, the Seattle Seahawks put on a truly historic defensive performance, shutting down the league’s top offense for all four quarters. NFL legend Joe Namath also has people talking with the 1970s-era fur coat he wore out to the coin toss.
Although this year’s Super Bowl commercials were generally nothing to write home about, one ad really stood out from the rest. It was Coca-Cola’s “Beautiful” ad — and if you didn’t catch it, here it is:
Why the fuss?
Aptly named for its simplicity and message of togetherness, Coke’s “Beautiful” showed, among many things, people of all races, ethnicities and cultures singing “America the Beautiful” in a variety of different languages. The final image was Coke’s iconic bottle alongside the hashtag #AmericaIsBeautiful.
Following the ad’s initial airing, Twitter was ground zero for people commenting on the apparently controversial message. Hashtags such as #BoycottCoke, #SpeakAmerican and #NotMyAmerica trended almost instantaneously, and Coke received an unprecedented number of complaints from consumers across the country.
To the uninformed consumer and armchair media critic, it would seem as though Coke got what it had coming to it. Content marketing professionals worldwide, however, have a different take on the ad and its impact. In fact, the commercial has been a clear net positive for the brand, which millions of people see as spreading a positive message.
While some consumers across Twitter and other social platforms were hitting the “unfollow” button, an equal, if not larger number of people did the exact opposite. In fact, Coca-Cola’s official Twitter account is nearing the 2.3 million-follower mark, and after actually gaining followers after the Super Bowl ad, it appears to be continuing its climb as one of the most prolific brands online.
Coke’s ad did more than stir up the sentiment of viewers across America — it positioned the company in a favorable light among those groups that are often underrepresented or represented unfavorably in today’s media. The brand clearly recognized the rapid diversification of the country, as well as the fact that the people who would object to the ad — while noisy — are relatively few in number.
Whatever the intent of Coke’s “Beautiful” commercial may have been, it likely achieved its purpose and more. Far and above just representing itself in a national spotlight during the most televised event of the year, Coke also enlisted the Internet to engage in some grassroots marketing.
For every tweet, text or comment with Coke’s name in it, brand exposure for the soft drink giant proliferated. And for every spark of controversy stemming from the “Beautiful” ad, Coke gets one more article written about it, making this seemingly disastrous marketing campaign the most successful Super Bowl ad this year.
Think about it: Who’s talking about Pepsi today?
Kyle Danowski is a senior copyeditor with ProPRcopy