Coca-Cola to Try and Blunt LGBT Criticism with Super Bowl Ad About Diversity?

Coca-Cola, under fire for months for its sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, may try and blunt criticism from LGBT activists by running a Super Bowl ad "touting its commitment to diversity," writes Scott Wooledge at DailyKos:

SochicocacolaA reliable source provides some interesting news: In an effort to spin their way past protests over their sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics in Russia, Coca Cola has contracted to place an ad in the Superbowl touting its commitment to diversity. Described as a Benetton's style feel-good "we are the world" commercial, reliable sources say the media purchase was only for the United States market.

Coke's PR team must be putting in some very long nights these day. An Olympic sponsors social media protest movement has sprung up, causing enough trouble to catch even the attention of New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Initially the property of McDonald's the #CheersToSochi hashtag has been hijacked and now also used against Coke and evolved into an all-purpose Olympic sponsor protest tag.


  1. Mike says

    I don’t think the situation in Sochi (Russia) should be ignored. But does anybody else find it odd that so much attention is being put on Coca-Cola and as we speak 10 men in Nigeria are on trial for being gay? They had to post-pone the trial because the men’s lives are in danger. Andy’s posted about it, I realize that. But where are the gay orgs? THAT should have more attention on it than Russia.

  2. MaryM says

    I can’t wait to see how Queer Nation recut the new advert to show the brutality of the Putin dictatorship.

    Coca Cola has no commitment to diversity. It has a commitment to profit. Nothing more.

  3. SpaceCadet says

    I don’t drink soda. All that high fructose corn syrup is bad for you.

    And Russia is getting more attention than Uganda because Russia is only hosting the Olympics, one of the biggest events in the world with corporate sponsors attached to it. Uganda or any of the other African nations in the news for targeting gay people has any event so high in profile in which to boycott any sponsors.

  4. Critifur says

    Coca-Cola is putting so much work into websites and ads, when all they have to do is condemn a horrible law. They don’t even have to pull out of supporting the Olympics as far (as I can tell) to quell all the bad PR. Just make a statement. Though I guess that at this point that would be to late.

  5. says

    Yes Andy ,sometimes business come before human rights, almost every major company has been guilty at one time or another. IBM and Ford helped the Nazies and did it for profits… Coca Cola invested in sponsoring the Olympics long before Putin made waves with his anti-gay laws. When the Israeli Wrestling team were massacred in Munich, the fucken Olympics did not end the games. Business has been the trump cards. Do you know why America boycotted the 1980 Olympics? Because Russia was at war with Afganistan! I’m just curious,would you boycott this years games if it was not a gay issue? This is not new? Did America boycott the Berlin Olympics in 1936? And the beat goes on… Who’s next?
    a few seconds ago · Edited · Like

  6. bobbyjoe says

    Who wants to bet that this “diversity” ad features at best a very, very subtle gay or lesbian image that can only be caught by those who are carefully looking for it, while the rest of the diversity is very prominent images of happy smiling multi-cultural people all over the world drinking Coke?

    And then Coke will cut the even quarter of a second “could possibly be taken as a gay and lesbian image if you squint hard enough” image and cut it when they broadcast the commercial internationally?

  7. says

    Should have listened to Teh Gays.

    We were warning the world about human rights abuses and Russian political corruption immediately after the anti-gay laws were passed.

    Seven months later and all the major media is finally waking up not only to the theft of billions in construction but also to the fact that SOCHI should never have been awarded the Games to begin with. That there was corruption from the get go in the IOC.

    We also tried to warn the sponsors. Caught as they were in the middle once the laws were enacted they could have sued the IOC to negate their contracts. Instead they listened to lawyers and bean counters and chose to go along and play the innocent caught in the middle. Now they’ve come to realize, as we told them all along, there is no middle. You can’t stand for human rights only when it suits your bottom line. The world is teaching Coke a better, truthful, more enlightened harmony.

  8. Randy says

    Gay people like me watch the Superbowl.

    Do they really want to cause outrage in the middle of this thing?

    This will go very badly, especially if I’m already losing.

  9. BigYear says

    Sure, Coca Cola, add gasoline to the fire why don’t you… Great idea. Because those bites on ‘policies’ and ‘practices’ have worked SO WELL for you so far…

  10. MFinBH says

    (I posted this with the “boycott” story as well)

    This is hardly unprecedented for Coke; it’s long been the definition of a company that puts profits first, morals and patriotism second. If you think their commitment to the Russian market and maintaining their presence there is something bad, THIS is how they handled the Third Reich [from Wikipedia]:

    “Fanta originated as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo. To circumvent this, Max Keith, the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace – the “leftovers of leftovers”, as Keith later recalled. The name was the result of a brief brainstorming session, which started with Keith exhorting his team to “use their imagination” (“Fantasie” in German), to which one of his salesmen, Joe Knipp, immediately retorted “Fanta!”

    “While the plant was effectively cut off from Coca Cola headquarters during the war, plant management did not join the Nazi Party. After the war, the Coca Cola corporation regained control of the plant, formula and the trademarks to the new Fanta product — as well as the plant profits made during the war.”

  11. walter says

    sorry what coke is trying to do is save its bottom line they really don’t give a damn about diversity . if they did the storm troopers ripping gay flags out of protesters hands wouldn’t be wearing coke patches. remember A anything B ut Coke!

  12. Just_a_guy says

    Well, if anyone else has had a Diet Coke addiction like I did, this whole Coke shananigan is a blessing in disguise:

    I was a constant Diet Coke person–and defender of it–for years. Just last year, I was relying on a diet coke every couple of hours.

    But I haven’t drank Diet Coke since this whole thing started to go down about a month ago. It’s bad for me anyways, with all the chemicals in it. Now I feel extra-good drinking water or coffee instead because I know it’s a small step towards sending the right message, too!

    (Also, I’ve become a fan of the Pepsi vendor in my building–even though I’m trying to lay off the soft drinks.)

  13. John says

    The headline, and subsequent text, should say “try to”, not “try and”. Saying “try and”
    assumes that they are going to be successful. If that is the assumption, then one would simply say that they are “going to …”

  14. John says

    @ Just_A_Guy … “this whole thing” started to go down a hell of a lot longer than a “month ago”. Just wondering why it took you so long to catch on to the lack of human rights in Russia.

  15. Jenny7 says

    Coke may have just featured a flash of a gay couple during their super bowl ad, but I think it is a start. Especially when presented to the sports community. You have to start somewhere! I worked for one of Coca Cola’s rivals for years. I got laid off and my company went under. (I was a single mother with 3 kids!) I hope that they can become a supporter of human rights AND continue to employ hundreds or thousands of people.