The one minute-long ad begins as you would expect any typical Super Bowl ad to begin, cowboy on horseback riding along to the strains of a young female vocalist singing the famed ode to patriotism.
What follows is a somehow Conservative-enraging bastardisation of all that is ‘wrong with America’, and if you’re really quick, you may even spot a gay couple in there too.
Glenn Beck, the agitating Fox News commentator had this to say.
Why did you need that to divide us politically? Because that’s all this ad is. It’s in your face and, if you’re offended by it, you’re a racist. If you do like it, you’re for progress.
If you were to believe the media coverage post Super Bowl, it’s easy for us to think that the following tweets are the normal response from the average American.
However I have now seen these same tweets repeated in at least five different news stories. Perhaps we need to look at actual data to ascertain the public approval of Coca-Cola and its ad.
Using a weighted average of four metrics: total views, subscriber conversion growth, likeability and velocity, Touchstorm has worked out that the Coca-Cola is the top most effective ad of the Super Bowl.
As of today (11 February), Coca-Cola’s ad has been number one for seven consecutive days. Here’s a timeline showing the ad’s growth since the Super Bowl.
With other brands releasing sneak previews of their Super Bowl ads before the day itself, Coca Cola chose not to, perhaps for fear of an early backlash. #AmericaIsBeautiful achieved more views on the day of its initial upload than any other brand that didn’t tease its ads first.
Of course, it’s easy to posit that the ad has managed this due to pure intrigue on behalf of a global audience wishing to know what the fuss is all about.
However in Touchstorm’s likeability ranking, based on positive engagement with the brand post Super Bowl, the #AmericaIsBeautiful campaign generated over 50,000 likes in five days, or one like per every 200 views, placing it in the top three campaigns in terms of positive engagement with users.
Coca-Cola has also seen strong YouTube subscriber growth as a result of the campaign peaking at over 1,100%.
Perhaps the advert isn’t as controversial on the ground as expected. Perhaps the message has been received more universally and positively than the extremes of Conservative politics would have us believe.
As for the controversy surrounding the inclusion of a gay couple, I’ll leave with this quote from Stephen Colbert in regard to ‘America the Beautiful’.
If the woman who wrote this song, Katharine Lee Bates, saw this ad, she would be disgusted. And so would her life partner, Katharine Coman, with whom she lived for 25 years.
For more articles on advertising during the 2014 Super Bowl, here are the 10 most shared Super Bowl ads of 2014 and the 20 most shared Super Bowl ads of all time.