The anthem became a point of contention when football players in 2017 began kneeling instead of standing to protest police brutality. President Trump and other critics said such a move was unpatriotic.
Called "A Coke is a Coke," the spot was created by Wieden & Kennedy Portland, which also made the divisive Nike ad featuring football player Colin Kaepernick, who became the face of the protesters and no longer has a job with the NFL.
"We really wanted to make sure that at a time when the nation feels a little bit divided, we wanted to celebrate unity and positivity," Stuart Kronauge, president of Coca-Cola's sparkling business unit and senior VP of marketing in North America, told Ad Age. "We just felt like the pre-game broadcast, before the National Anthem, was just a really good moment when people are pausing and coming together."
The narration is inspired by an Andy Warhol poem. "A Coke is a Coke" is a phrase from a passage in his 1975 book "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol."
“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest,” Warhol wrote. “You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know the president drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke, and no amount of money can get you a better Coke.”
Some of Andy Warhol's pop art featured vintage Coca-Cola cans.
The narration of the ad, using a succession of different voices, is a spin off that quote: “A Coke is a Coke is a Coke. It’s the same for everyone. You can get one if you want it no matter where you from. He drinks Coke and she drinks Coke even though they disagree. And while the bottles look alike, you aren’t the same as me. Stars drink it. Chefs drink it. Farmers want one when it’s hot. There’s a Coke here if you’re thirsty but that’s cool if you’re not. We all have different hearts and hands, heads holding various views. Don’t you see: different is beautiful and together is beautiful, too.”
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