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Not the ad that Coke is rumored to be running.

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 Super Bowl 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 days. An Olympic sponsor social media protest movement has sprung up, causing enough trouble to catch even the attention of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Initially the property of McDonald's, the #CheersToSochi hashtag has been hijacked and now is also being used against Coke and evolved into an all-purpose Olympic sponsor protest tag.

And then there's the spoof video of the classic "teach the world to sing" 1970s commercial posted on YouTube. The updated ad mixes images of arrests and assaults of LGBT Russians, while Coke-sipping hippie teenagers sing about the world coming together in perfect harmony. It has surpassed 80,000 views in over 160 countries.

Please read below the fold for more on the Coca-Cola controversy.

Coke suspended the social media campaign, explaining "... the promotion has generated an unintended outcome."
Coke chose a strange response: to re-post the original video the spoof was based on. It was clearly a response to the #CheersToSochi protest movement, which Coke even made a clear allusion to with the catchphrase "cheers."

If the goal was to mollify gay objectors by harkening back 40 years to their earlier principles, the intended choir did not sing back.

Now, the movement is racing to see if the LGBT community can successfully hijack Coca-Cola's #AmericaIsBeautiful hashtag by Super Bowl Sunday.

Will one 30-second ad during the Super Bowl work to dissipate the heat? Probably not. Like all the Olympic sponsors, Coke keeps talking about their history of support for the LGBT community. And to be fair, Coke's support of LGBT in the United States and Europe is without question.

But it's also beside the question. From the start the gay community has been asking for a proactive unambiguous statement condemning the Russian laws. Coke has never done this; neither have any Olympic sponsors.

The LGBT community isn't satisfied that sponsors stand up for LGBT equality in western markets were it is convenient, even popular, like USA and Europe. And if in fact it turn out it played only in America, that will only inflame more frustration. They want Coke to be allies to gays worldwide. The question before Coke is, "Will you condemn Russia's law?" This ad buy won't answer that.

And the anger isn't likely to go away after 30 seconds during the Super Bowl.

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:50 PM PST.

Also republished by LGBT Rights are Human Rights and Angry Gays.

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