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Hear 'America the Beautiful' in Arabic: Coke's multilingual Super Bowl commercial stirs controversy

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Who doesn't like a feel-good Coke commercial? Pop-drinking polar bears and people singing on a hilltop are some of the most iconic ads to hit TV.

But Coca-Cola's latest Super Bowl entry, featuring "America the Beautiful" sung in multiple languages, is going down as one of the most polarizing ads in game history.

Coke said the point of the 60-second commercial was to celebrate the country's diversity and showed people of different races and creeds hanging out with friends and family, as the song is delivered first in English, then in other tongues, including Spanish, Hindi and Tagalog. 

The company has since posted on YouTube versions of the song performed in its entirety in languages including Senegalese-French, Mandarin, Spanish, Hebrew and Keres, a dialect spoken by the Keres Pueblo people in New Mexico.

Here's an Arabic rendition of 'America the Beautiful.'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn8fK6r9ayc


And in Tagalog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFkKtCank1w

Versions of the song performed in other languages are also on Spotify, as well as the multilingual version. You have to search under the "Coca-Cola Singers" or "Coca-Cola Chorus."

But some Super Bowl viewers tweeted their displeasure Sunday night when they heard the patriotic anthem delivered in something other than English.

https://twitter.com/osutruster4/status/430141044227702784

Backlash to the critics was just as swift, with immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas writing that “I am RT'ing these Coke tweets b/c we must face what we must help change.”

Have you seen the ad? It was made by the Portland-based ad firm Wieden + Kennedy, who are notoriously good at getting buzz going. They're the masterminds behind the decidedly less-reverential Old Spice “Mom” commercials.
 


In another twist, some conservatives targeted former Obama White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe for tweeting: “Looking forward to RNC banning Coca-Cola products at 2016 Convention.”

One Tweeter accused Plouffe of stereotyping conservatives.

https://twitter.com/exjon/status/430145641319104512

(MSNBC had come under fire recently for tweeting that the “right wing” would hate a new Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family that also aired during the Super Bowl.)

The outcry over to the multilingual "America the Beautiful" overshadowed a gay couple in the ad —a bicultural pair taking a little girl out on the skating rink — believed to be perhaps the first-ever same-sex pair shown in a Super Bowl ad.

Get ready for another round of outrage: Coca-Cola said in a press release that a 90-second version of the ad will air during the Sochi Olympics (broadcast on NBC).

Katie Bayne, president of Coca-Cola North America, explained in a statement why the company wanted to make the ad:

"For 127 years, Coca-Cola has been proud to be a part of bringing friends and families together while memories are made. ... With 'It’s Beautiful,' we are simply showing that America is beautiful, and Coke is for everyone." 

This story has been updated.

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