Coca-Cola airing ad before Super Bowl National Anthem instead of during the game

Originally posted Friday, January 25, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is bowing out of airing an ad during the Super Bowl for the first time in more than a decade.

Instead, it’s taking a slightly lower-cost route by having its ad run right before the National Anthem, when viewership is already pretty high. 

They released the playful, animated ad, which is about inclusiveness and togetherness, yesterday. The message: a Coke can be drunk by anybody no matter their different viewpoints. 

Coca-Cola Will Not Run an Ad During the Super Bowl The beverage company will show a commercial before the game starts instead. Ads during the big game on CBS this year will cost up to $5.3 million. Before kickoff, they are reportedly half of that. According to Coca-Cola, its commercial before the Super Bowl will focus on diversity. Coca-Cola, via statement The ad will feature cartoon characters telling viewers that the drink is "for everyone."

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. 

Georgia native Gladys Knight will sing the anthem right after the ad airs. 

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.” 

RELATED: Coke provides free admission to Civil Rights Museum

RELATED: Pepsi takes over Atlanta 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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