Coca Cola’s “Brotherly Love” Super Bowl Commercial— A Scene-By-Scene Breakdown of an Advertising Masterpiece

Karan Menon
Nov 2, 2017 · 6 min read

Open on a living room. Cue acoustic guitar version of Avicii’s “Hey Brother.”

An innocent-looking boy sits on a couch, intently playing a video game. He is hunched forward, his hands tightly gripping the video game controller as he vigorously mashes buttons. His focus is unbreakable.

The boy is wearing a red hat, a red/white striped shirt, and blue jeans. These are also the colors of the American flag. Subliminal messaging.

In between the boy and the TV is a table, and on that table is a bottle of refreshing Coca-Cola. The bottle is open, but barely touched. The viewer can only assume that when the boy gets around to drinking it, he will drink it with the same level of concentration he is putting into this video game.

The boy’s older brother enters from the right. He is a tall young man with a faded gray T-shirt and a smirk that says “I love Coca-Cola.”

Brother walks up to boy and pushes his hat down for no reason. As soon as boy corrects his hat, brother immediately pushes the hat down again, this time covering his whole face. Boy is clearly annoyed and tries to push brother away. Brother walks away smirking. Some viewers may be alarmed by this random act of harassment, but it’s really okay because they’re brothers. With brothers, nothing is off-limits!

Cut to Scene 2, in living room again.

Boy (wearing a different combination of red, white, and blue) is trying to reach a pair of headphones high up on a shelf. Brother walks by, talking on the phone. He is clearly tall enough to retrieve the headphones, but instead he takes the headphones and puts them on an even higher shelf for no reason. Brother walks away with his classic smirk, and boy stares after him, visibly hurt and confused.

Now, some viewers may also be confused as to why he had to do that — but don’t worry! Coca-Cola knows families, and this is just the way that all older brothers treat their younger brothers. Brothers all across America will be bonding over this scene.

Cut to Scene 3, outside in the rain.

Boy and brother are walking home from school, and brother is holding an umbrella over both of them. Suddenly, brother quickens his pace and leaves boy in the cold rain (again, for no reason at all). Boy has to use backpack to shield his red, white, and blue clothes. Brother turns to make sure boy is getting wet, then continues walking ahead.

At this point, some viewers may be concerned about the legitimacy of this clearly abusive relationship — but don’t be concerned! Coca-Cola knows the difference between bullying and brotherly love, and this is clearly brotherly love. Look at them go!

Cut to Scene 4, at the family dinner table.

Boy and brother are sitting next to each other. Then, with no provocation, brother reaches his foot over and stomps on boy’s red and white sneakers. Boy reacts in pain, and both parents notice this, but brother pretends like he doesn’t know what is going on.

Now, this is where many viewers are going to start wondering if maybe the older brother’s behavior is actually not normal by any standards, and maybe in reality he is just a horrible person. Why does he act this way? Is he possessed by evil spirits? Is he a vampire? Does he feed off his brother’s unhappiness?

Above the table, we see that instead of drinking water with their meals like ordinary people, this family drinks Coca-Cola Zero out of curved glasses that say Coca-Cola on them. Wait a minute, Coca-Cola? What does that have to do with any of this?

Cut to Final Scene, outside in a park.

Boy is sitting on a bench, looking dejected. Clearly, his brother’s repeated taunts and assaults have taken their toll on him. Around his neck is the pair of headphones from Scene 2. He must have found a stool. On the bench next to him is another Coke bottle, open yet not sipped. Maybe the Coke will make him feel better. He reaches for the bottle, but at the last second a hand comes in from out of the screen and swipes it away.

Surprisingly, it is not his brother, but a normal kid-sized bully, flanked by two bystanders. The boy tries many times to get his beloved Coca-Cola back, but the bully keeps pulling the bottle away while the bystanders laugh. The audience is on the edge of their seats. The climax of the song is building. Who will come to the rescue?

HIS BROTHER!

Out of nowhere, older brother steps in to protect his younger brother. On his face is a very serious expression that says, “Hey, leave that refreshing Coca-Cola alone.” Kid-sized bully hands the Coke over with a look of shame. Brother scares them off with an aggressive stomp.

At this point, the audience should be tearing up. All doubts have been erased. Deep down, this is an older brother who really cares. Sure, when it’s pouring rain outside, he’ll remove the umbrella from above your head. And when you’re sitting next to him, he’ll stomp on your foot for no reason. But when someone tries to take your Coke, you know you can count on him to get it back, because that is where he draws the line.

Holding the Coke in his hand, brother turns to boy, but keeps his eyes on the Coke. In fact, he gazes at the Coke bottle for several seconds with a look of love and admiration, a look that says, I’d do anything for you. Boy senses this and looks up at the bottle as if it contains some mysterious power — the power of brotherly love.

Brother’s gaze finally shifts from the bottle to his younger brother. In a stroke of generosity, he decides to give the Coke back to his brother because he knows Coca-Cola is about sharing and friendship. Boy is extremely grateful. Boy starts to drink the Coca-Cola, but suddenly, brother reaches in and tips the bottle so it spills on his red and white clothes. Boy is taken by surprise.

This time, however, boy laughs along with his brother. After drinking Coca-Cola, he understands his brother’s sense of humor! Coca-Cola has mended their abusive relationship!

And that’s the message Coca-Cola is really trying to send across with this commercial. Coca-Cola mends abusive relationships.

Ending Title: COCA-COLA, TASTE THE FEELING™

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