The Philadelphia Eagles got their first Super Bowl win. Justin Timberlake made it through a half-time show without any nip or zip slips. And This Is Us fans ugly-cried themselves to sleep after getting much wanted answers surrounding Jack’s death. It was a night filled with joy and sadness, where fans were divided and no one knew what the hell JT was wearing. But Coca-Cola tried to unite our nation with their commercial called “The Wonder of Us” by adding another finally to the evening.
Using a voiceover with a variety of voices tied together in a powerful spoken word poem, Coca-Cola provided the most diverse commercial of the night. It only took 60 seconds to include an interracial couple, a hijab-wearing mother, a wheelchair-bound person on a half-pipe, a lesbian couple, a gender non-conforming woman, and a non-binary person.
“There’s a coke for he and she and her and me and them. There’s a different coke for all of us.”
To be clear on their intent, when “them” was said, it was spoken by an androgynous person wearing a rainbow-collared jacket. They identified themself as they after others were identifying as he and she.
Some of you may not have noticed this respectful nod to those who do not identify as either male or female. But for the people whose gender falls somewhere on a spectrum and not in a box, it was not only noticed, but also celebrated with relief and validation.
Fans took to Coca-Cola’s Facebook page to show their appreciation:
“I love Diet Coke and I love you even more now that you use gender neutral/non-binary pronouns. Thanks!”
“I see what you did there with pronouns. [Thumbs up.]”
“Thanks for representing non-binary people! Even for just the briefest of moments.”
“You said them! Thank you!!!! Thank you! Thank you!”
Twitter users were happy too:
Thank you for showing people the beautiful spectrums of disability, gender identity, culture, and human emotion. Thank you.
— ⋆✧carly✧⋆ (@justcarlylloyd) February 5, 2018
Thank you for representing me and pretty much my relationship to my gf in this. You make me prouder to be an androgynous non-binary. You guys know what’s up
— Alexa Cassaro (@alexacassaro) February 5, 2018
thanks for validating my gender on the biggest platform in america
— cas (@gentlethey) February 5, 2018
It’s not often big brands recognize nonbinary folks. Thank you for that moment of happiness.
— DJ Meow Mix (@RexxieCat) February 5, 2018
Thankfully, I could go on and on because the overwhelming response to Coca-Cola’s “The Wonder of Us” was positive.
A few people quoted God and said they would never buy Coke again (liars), but the biggest backlash was from the people who just want their old Coke with Lime back. Like this Facebook user:
“We tried the new coke: Lime and Ginger today: Within 5 minutes of pouring there were no more bubbles also the cans are too tall did not fit in our middle refrigerator drawer where we like to keep our coke/lime. Ginger flavor is mild. Unhappy with the lack of fizz and shape of cans.”
When something like lack of soda fizz impacts your enjoyment of a product, you have a right to say something. You have the right to complain.
But you don’t have the right to complain when someone asks to be recognized by their preferred pronouns. Calling someone they or them does not take away your right to be called by your gender pronoun. You can still enjoy your personal product without crapping on someone else’s.
Coca-Cola’s inclusion of LGBTQ and non-binary individuals is more important than ever.
The 2018 GLAAD Accelerating Acceptance report illustrated that the acceptance of LGBT people declined in 2017—a first since the study started four years ago. The current administration has paved the way for ignorance and bigotry to be accepted as religious freedom, so it’s no surprise that the president’s first year in office coincided with a drop in acceptance for the LGBT community.
Sometimes we are accused of sticking ourselves in people’s faces, as if straight, binary, and cis-gender people don’t dominate everything we see, read, watch, and listen to.
It’s hard to be overseen if we aren’t seen at all.
Cheers to Coca-Cola for giving queer, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people the biggest stage of the year.
The world got to see us.