Coke stirs controversy

Coca-Cola is a company that has been quintessential Americana since its creation as a cough medicine in 1886. The drink has held its own against competing products like Pepsi-Cola.

Coca-Cola has always strived to reach a varied consumer base. Since its inception, the company has expanded its brand past the Unites States and now sells its products in almost every country in the world. With this in mind, no one should be surprised by Coca-Cola’s latest commercial, “Pool Boy,” and its strong acceptance and representation of the LGBT community. After all, the company has proven its willingness to make strong political statements through its market for inclusivity.

The company has been taking stands against discrimination throughout its existence. One particularly notable moment was when Coca-Cola re-aired its 2014 ad “America the Beautiful,” which company officials rebranded as “America Together” for the 2017 Super Bowl. The ad features the U.S. national anthem sung in different languages and promotes the acceptance of cultural and ethnic diversity within the country. The rebirth of the ad was obviously a pushback against recent political events that may have oppressed marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Similarly, a new commercial that aired on March 2 makes yet another political statement. With it, Coca-Cola shows that it proudly supports its LGBT consumers and will oppose the rampant discrimination they face around the world.

In “Pool Boy,” the viewer first sees a young woman gazing longingly at the man cleaning her family’s pool. From the second floor, her brother is also checking out the man. What follows is a hilarious competition between the two siblings as they race to give the sweaty man a can of Coca-Cola. However, their mother beats them to it.

The commercial is subtle and sweet. Tony Dallara’s “Come Prima” croons in the background, providing the only sound and letting the acting provide the humor. It is simply great advertising.

Yet, while many regard the ad as progressive and groundbreaking, there are those who see it as an attack on traditional family values. One Facebook user argued that they “respect . . . individual preferences,” but felt that it was wrong to “shove it down our throats.”

Heteronormativity is something that is “shoved down the throats” of people in the LGBT community every day in music, film and television.

It is not up to one group of people to decide what is “normal” or what is “right.” Cheerios faced backlash three years ago for its mixed race family commercial and Campbell’s suffered the same negative reviews last year for the gay dads in its Star Wars commercial.

Following suit, Coca-Cola will likely also be financially affected by the loss of some ignorant consumers. However, because of the company’s far-reaching grasp in the industry, such consumers will find it difficult to escape Coca-Cola’s great message of love and acceptance.

Coke’s #TasteTheFeeling campaign is one that stands for all its customers.