Commentary

Coca-Cola's Controversial Super Bowl Ad Connects With Online Latinos

  • by , Columnist, February 13, 2014

Much has already been written about Coca-Cola’s “America Is Beautiful” commercial, seen by tens of millions during the 2014 Super Bowl.

Overlooked in the media firestorm is the connection the multi-cultural theme had with U.S. Hispanics. Seeing people from different races, religions and ethnicities clearly had an impact with Latinos, and data indicates it was a positive one.

As a quick refresher, what started as an innocuous ad for a multinational corporation created a firestorm of complaints in social media. Many did not approve of the performance of “America The Beautiful” being sung in several foreign languages. And many pundits have written about the negative reactions it stirred.

Polls: Latinos connected with soft drinks; others connected with beer

But a recent survey by the Hispanic local search company YaSabe found it was the favorite commercial of their online Hispanic audience — more than one-third said it was the ad they liked the most. That was more than 20 points above their second-favorite commercial. And remember, advertisers save their best pitches for Super Bowl Sunday.

Meanwhile, non-Hispanic viewers had a different point of view:

  • By comparison, the Coca-Cola commercial got just 1% in the same poll.
  • Other general market online polls reported similar results: Budweiser on top, Coca-Cola near the bottom.
  • By comparison, the Budweiser commercial in the YaSabe survey was ranked fourth, with only about 10% of Latinos saying they liked it.

Diverse faces and different accents score with Latinos

The results indicate many advertisers fumbled at their chance to connect with this key audience. While Coca-Cola clearly scored a touchdown (or perhaps a gol) with Latinos. 

The ad proves that holding up a mirror to the changing demographics of America and speaking to them in their native language — or in imagery that resonates with their heritage— is key to prompting Hispanic customers to invite brands into their homes and share them with their friends. Remember, Hispanics over-index above any other group in their use of social media.

It is not a fluke that Coca-Cola is one of the most popular soft drinks on the planet. They clearly understand the changing demographics of our country and found a way to connect with the nation’s largest minority. Clearly, this approach is working as Coca-Cola placed a 90-second version of the controversial Super Bowl commercial during the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

2 comments about "Coca-Cola's Controversial Super Bowl Ad Connects With Online Latinos".
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  1. David Cearley from self employed, February 13, 2014 at 10:49 a.m.

    One of the biggest headaches for marketers is finding a message that will resonate with both audiences. More than 30% of Hispanics found the Coke spot to be their favorite while only 1% of Whites agreed. Is a commercial that polarizes your audience ever good for a brand? While you're never going to satisfy everyone, there's a fine line between producing content that one group loves and another just likes, and content that one group loves and another actually hates. (example Cheerios).
    I don't however agree with your assertion that you have to speak to Hispanics in Spanish is key or even necessary. The Coke spot was a winner because it embraced differences, not because it pandered to them.

  2. Sandra Dempsey from ESPN Deportes 1510 AM, February 13, 2014 at 12:38 p.m.

    Thanks so much for the article. I love the idea that Coca-Cola sets the example as how important is to be multicultural in this country. Controversial, yet effective. When people feel considered and included there is an immediate sense of trust that will surely in the bottom line.

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