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February 1, 2013

Are these Super Bowl ads racist?

Volkswagen, Coca-Cola, and Soda Stream strike a nerve ahead of Sunday's game.
Coke Chase 2013 Ad - YouTube 6
Screenshot from Coca Cola's 2013 "Chase" ad.

UPDATE: Commentator Arsalan Iftikhar received this epilogue for the Coca-Cola advertisement mentioned in this article. The clip shows the Middle Eastern character drinking a bottle of soda as his competitors chase a mirage into the distance. Coca-Cola is also soliciting votes for the outcome of its Super Bowl advertisement. The tally will determine which of the ad's characters wins the desert race. However, the site excludes the Middle Eastern man from the ballot.

Each year Super Bowl advertisements take centre stage at the US National Football League championship. Upwards of 150 million spectators tune in not only to watch the game, but also the highly anticipated 30 second spots.

Already, people are reacting to a handful of 2013 ads unveiled ahead of Sunday's game, but for different reasons. Commercials released by Volkswagen, Coca Cola, and Soda Stream are at the heart of controversy with claims of stereotypes, racism, and connections to Israeli occupation.

The Stream collected a round-up of the online conversation.