Haunting: That classic 1971 Coke commercial montaged with Russian gays being arrested

Wow. Quite a powerful new video by the gay rights group Queer Nation, taking that classic “I’d like to teach the world to sing” Coke commercial, and mixing it with images of gay Russians gets arrested by the police.

Coke is an official sponsor of the 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia in a few weeks, and Coke has been in a bit of hot water because of it.

coke-russian-olympics-gay

Coke’s problems worsened significantly when an Olympic security employee, sporting a Coca-Cola logo, assisted in the arrest of Russian gay rights activist Pavel Lebedev for simply waving a rainbow flag along the parade route of the Olympic flame.

ioc-agent-tackling

Coke only made matters worse when it defended the arrest of of the Russian human rights advocate.

coke-russia-video-featured

This video is brilliant and chilling.  Who doesn’t love that Coke commercial from 1971?  It’s so early 70s, and really just a classic in great American advertising.  But part of what made the commercial so great was the warm and fuzzy “we are the world” nature of its message.

Classic Coke supported diversity. New Coke defends the arrest of dissidents, and even assists in the arrests. Oh how a mighty brand has fallen.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Lisa

    A must see!

    “Jello Song” – Sochi 2014 Olympics
    Commentary Song – “If You End Up In Russia” – Agree or disagree the
    boycott-turned-non-boycott, but keep the conversation going about human rights,
    not just hockey and curling…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tGwayZ4k8Y

  • Lisa

    This is smart and funny. A must see!

    “Jello Song” – Sochi 2014 Olympics
    Commentary Song – “If You End Up In Russia” – Agree or disagree the
    boycott-turned-non-boycott, but keep the conversation going about human rights,
    not just hockey and curling…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tGwayZ4k8Y

  • ComradeRutherford

    Coca Cola has clearly decided that the Day of the Gays is over. They have switched sides and joined the Reactionary Right. They are proudly supporting gay bashers and the criminalization of being gay. They aren’t even trying to mealy-mouth it, they are very open about their change of affiliation.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    So true. This song stirs something deep and powerful in me and every time I hear it, as if for the first time, I feel heart sick. I remember that one of the earliest medieval masterpieces on spiritual friendships was written by Abelard (?). I’ll have to drag out my Boswell and look it up. —peace,

  • 2patricius2

    I couldn’t help but think of the red caped Catholic loons during the song. Tomorrow doesn’t belong to them in this country. But it seems to belong to their fellow haters in other countries.

    But I realize how tenuous rights are. I have a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt by my computer: “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” Before Hitler and the Nazis rose to power, gay people had come a long way in Germany. And it is quite apparent from the studies of John Boswell that same sex relationships were blessed and valued at times in Christian history. We can never become nonchalant.

  • cleos_mom

    I’ll never forget seeing that scene for the first time when the movie was first released. The use of lighting, makeup and camerawork makes the kid’s face undergo a terrifying change; impossible to do in the stage version.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That too.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    She’s baaaaack.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brilliant! Posted it at adgitadiares. Putting a dent in COKE is a major achievement.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    “Sound of Music”?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It reminds of the Nazi ‘Edelweiss’ song in Cabaret,

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah, this would arguably fall under serveral aspects of protected speech, including political, satire, and they’re not raising money off of the video, so it’s not really commercial. Coke would be really dumb to issue a cease and desist, or get this pulled off YouTube. If they want to help make the Coke Olympic story international news, then go ahead and try to take it down.

  • jomicur

    Still again, I marvel at the inventiveness, resourcefulness and creativity of our community. Proud, proud, proud to be gay.

  • Donald Spitz

    After seeing this piece of xxx I know why God wrote: Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of
    them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their
    blood shall be upon them.

    Romans 1:24
    Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own
    hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: :26 For this cause God
    gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural
    use into that which is against nature: :27 And likewise also the men, leaving
    the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with
    men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence
    of their error which was meet.

  • Thom Allen

    McDonald’s surrenders #CheersToSochi to protesters? http://queernationny.org/post/74447717174/for-immediate-release-statement-from-member-scott Keep tweeting to the hashtag.

  • Houston Rainbow Herald

    pretty moving stuff

  • Bill_Perdue

    Coke was also a major target of anti-apartheid groups in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa . Currently it’s being targeted by opponents of apartheid in the zionist colony in Palestine and among unions worldwide. Boycott Coke and Boycott the major corporate sponsor of homophobia by the detested Putin Regime, NBC/MSNBC.

    And boycott politicians like Obama who cooperate with Putin and refuse to support Russian LGBT groups.

    photos from http://africanactivist.msu.edu/ http://www.inminds.co.uk

  • Indigo

    You’re probably right and regardless of court decisions, the publicity will be extensive. That’s Queer Nation for you. Hurray!

  • phylius1988

    Ew, an anti-GMO loon.

  • Strepsi

    Man oh man… Queer Nation is baaaaack! And just in time

  • Matt Rogers

    I’m betting Queer Nation could make a convincing legal case that their protest ad is an original work of art, qualitatively different from the Coke commercial and protected by the first amendment. I think they should fight any attempt to take it down. The case would draw even more attention to Russia’s persecution of LGBT people, and Coke’s complicity in that persecution.

  • 4th Turning

    Thanks for the neat repair A.
    Didn’t realize others would be recalling a more hopeful time.
    Madison Ave.didn’t miss a beat in coopting a lot of the ideals/idealism
    that so briefly blossomed in ’71 in spite of the reality that the
    boys not in the coke ad were over in Vietnam getting
    sprayed daily with agent orange.

  • Jim Olson

    True, but nothing dies on the internet.

  • 4th Turning

    And a 32 oz. glass of ice water with a dash of lemon won’t disappoint either.
    Sorry you guys in West Virginia… Don’t know what to say. We all deserve better.

  • bkmn

    I wonder how McD’s is feeling these days about their buddy Monsanto, now that those high yielding fields of grain are getting more expensive to treat with nasty chemicals to treat the weeds they were supposed to prevent.

  • bkmn

    You will not regret getting away from the Monsanto artificial sweetener that confuses your body. Few things beat a good glass of cold brewed iced tea (or hot tea since it is winter).

    Coke will only become responsive when it starts hitting their bottom line.

  • pappyvet

    Things go better with coke. Like arrests , homophobia , and brutality.

  • pappyvet

    We are not ‘persons’ We are ‘consumers.’

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I imagine Coke’s and the IOCs lawyers are drawing up the IP-infringement take-down orders even as we speak… Remember, we’re not allowed to question or criticize our corporate overlords, because their ‘personhood’ trumps ours.

  • Thom Allen

    For McDonald’s we could do “I’m NOT lovin’ it!” Or, one I heard on the net, “For straights McDonald’s says, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ For gays, McDonald’s says, ‘Do you want black eyes with that?”

  • Thom Allen

    Exactly!

  • Thom Allen

    When I was growing up, my sister and I would sing along with this commercial. It’s one of the few TV ads that I ever looked forward to seeing. When I saw the link to the video, I didn’t realize that the “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” song was going to be a part of it. I froze when the violence started. The juxtaposition of harmony and hate is overpowering. Whoever thought of this at Queer Nation is a genius. We need to make it go viral. I posted it to my Facebook page and to many of my friends’ pages. I also sent it to Coke and sent it via message to Coke’s FB pages. I also tweeted it and sent it off to #CheersToSochi

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t even realize the Olympics start in a few days. That says it all. People are embarrassed to promote them.

  • usagi

    If they aren’t regretting it now, they will be.
    The way #CheersToSochi was taken over by activists is going to go into the textbooks on the dangers of community engagement. Coke built the platform for them. And more interestingly, they’re keeping it up. Maybe it come out (or they’ll claim after) that it was all part of a clever plan to help.
    It has also been observed that there is as close to zero marketing going on in the US about the Olympics right now as makes no difference. Maybe there will be a push around the Superbowl, but even with that, this has got to be the least visible Olympics since the US boycotted the 1980 Russian games.

  • Tone

    The juxtaposition of classic beautiful people advertising propaganda against the ugliness of modern Russia is quite effective.

  • kingstonbears

    Brilliant!

  • Anonymous

    Comprehensive list of all Coke global brands (there are dozens).

    To our international friends: please join the boycott. (Hint: press ctrl+F and type in your country)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Coca-Cola_brands

  • Anonymous

    Here is a very comprehensive list of all US & international Coke brands. There are dozens.

    To our international friends, please join the boycott.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Coca-Cola_brands

  • dcinsider

    I also posted on my FB.

  • Doug Watkins

    brilliant. I posted it to my FB page. A few months ago I paid lip service to personally cutting back on my Coke Zero addiction. It looks like not only must I stop, but we all need to make sure this corporation feels the pain.

  • dommyluc

    Brutal! More, please.

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