Brenda Wood's comments on Coke ad spark debate

1:35 PM, Feb 5, 2014   |    comments
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Note: The opinions expressed by Brenda Wood are her own and do not necessarily reflect those held by 11Alive/WXIA-TV, its staff or Gannett Broadcasting.

A Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad sparked debate, and now a response from 11Alive's Brenda Wood has gone viral.

The ad from the Atlanta-based company featured families of different backgrounds -- including a gay family -- performing "America the Beautiful."


Some outrage immediately erupted on Twitter with #SpeakAmerican. Some even called for a boycott of Coke products.

In her "Last Word" on Monday, 11Alive's Brenda Wood called the controversy "outrageous." 


"When America was built on opening its arms to the world, the quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say,  'Give me your English-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses,' it says, 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, tempest tossed,'" Wood said. "Have we forgotten that everyone of us Americans -- except for Native Americans --  are descendants of foreigners?"

Wood's commentary itself elicited a strong response. More than 200,000 people had viewed the video as of Tuesday afternoon. Some agreed with Brenda, including Felicia Younginer, who wrote on 11Alive's Facebook page, "Coca-Cola has always been about unity. I'd like to buy the WORLD a Coke was their motto. Not I'd like to buy select AMERICANS a Coke!"

Others felt that Coca-Cola sent the wrong message. Lynn McKelvy Otis wrote, "If they had used the song... I'd like to teach the world to sing... sure, do it in every language known to man... but if you are singing a song that is Patriotic to American and Americans.. please do so in english.. Go to France, Go to Italy, Go to mexico or Central America... they don't even ATTEMPT to speak anything but their Native language...."

For its part, Coca-Cola issued a statement saying, in part,

"It's Beautiful" was created to celebrate Coke moments among all Americans who together enjoy ice cold, refreshing Coke. 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. All those featured in the ad are Americans and "America The Beautiful" was sung by bilingual American young women.

 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.

What do you think? Click the link above to watch Brenda Wood's "Last Word" as well as her response to all of the comments. Sound off on our Facebook page!

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