Using children in politically tinged advertising is often problematic. Some would say it's tantamount to propaganda. Still, the kids who sang "America the Beautiful" in other languages for Coca-Cola's Super Bowl ad are so charmingly innocent in these behind-the-scenes videos—and so optimistic about how the ad will be received—that it makes the whole ruckus seem extra ridiculous.
Of course, Coke isn't as innocent. It knew the ad, by Wieden + Kennedy, would be controversial. Even these clips from the recording sessions hint at that—why else would they ask the girls how people might react to the ad? And yet it's irresistible when Naomi, the girl who sings in Spanish, says: "They might feel joyful. They might feel like, 'Wow, America has all these different things.' And they might feel, like, really proud of their country, I hope. Cause I know I am pretty proud."
Coke released its own statement about the ad this week, saying in part: "For centuries America has opened its arms to people of many countries who have helped to build this great nation. 'It's Beautiful' provides a snapshot of the real lives of Americans representing diverse ethnicities, religions, races and families, all found in the United States. … We believe 'It's Beautiful' is a great example of the magic that makes our country so special, and a powerful message that spreads optimism, promotes inclusion and celebrates humanity—values that are core to Coca-Cola."
The ad's director, John Hillcoat of Skunk, has also spoken out this week. "We all know there are those kind of bigots out there, but I had no idea how deeply embedded it was. It seems that the divide in America has never been greater," he said in a statement.
Despite its optimism, Coke recognizes that divide, too. Tellingly, YouTube comments are disabled on all the videos featuring the girls—to protect them. Comments are enabled on the main ad, though, and are at 12,500 and counting. Wade into that debate at your own risk.