For the last few months Coca Cola have found themselves under attack from many different groups – mostly because of their sponsorship of the Winter Olympics. The Anti-Gay stance of Russian Twatski Vladmir Putin (More like a direction on a Carry On film – “Oh Putin!” “I thought I just had darlin’!”) and the ongoing victimisation, battering, torturing and murder of the LGTB community in the former Soviet Republic have called for the big sponsors to distance themselves from the Games.
I have sympathy for Coke because I presume like McDonalds and the other main sponsors, they are tied into a contract that means they sponsor a series of the Olympic Games and can’t exactly pull out. But then they go and make things worse for themselves by not allowing the personalised online “Share a Coke” to carry the word “Gay” which many groups had used as an online protest. Bad marketing and PR move there as it just made the whole situation worse. While they have not handled the whole situation well it seems to me that they are not endorsing the Russian Government’s stand against public displays of affections from same-sex couples. So much so that their adverts both here and in the US actually feature gay couples in them – in the UK we see two men getting married and in last weekend’s Super Bowl ad there was a male gay couple featured. Anti-Gay? No – just badly judged I would say.
That advert has caused them more problems though. Here it is:
So why has this caused uproar in the US you wonder? Lots of different nationalities all sharing the fact that they love America singing a patriotic song across seven different languages – what’s not to like? Well the different nationalities singing in their own language apparently. Yes the knee-jerk (emphasis on the latter syllable) right has condemned the use of the multi-cultural voices in an advert for an American brand for Americans singing “America the Beautiful”. This is Fox News levels of stupid and shows the complainants up for the ignorant, unaware and culturally barren segments of the US population. “It should be sung in our Native language!” – time to speak to the Native Americans then because last time I checked they were the first inhabitants until the Europeans appeared over five centuries ago. “I mean in our official language!” Again wrong, the US does not have an official language and in some states English is actually a minority language after Spanish.
There is so much to complain about and they waste their time on this – it really beggars belief. And did you see the young gay couple with a kid? Well that got the Bible Bashers and Tea Party members all angry too. The fact that “America the Beautiful” was written by Katharine Lee Bates, a lesbian, makes their complaints even more ridiculous. America is a country of division at the moment and the collision of Obama’s heart being in the right place and Congress’s ass being in the way there is no sign of that changing. We have our problems here in the UK but the living wage, healthcare issues, women’s rights and access to good education are all causing massive problems across the pond.
Coca Cola represents America really well – unsure of how to present itself to the world because it doesn’t know who it is anymore. Once something that was respected and represented a positive image it has become tarnished and can see the competition moving up alongside it – even overtaking it. It says it represents everyone, but still there are those in charge who don’t agree that all are equal. Both need to re-evaluate their brand, and soon otherwise their position will be lost.