In an ad debuting during Sunday’s BET Awards, Sprite makes a blunt assessment of the American Dream: “It wasn’t made for everybody. It forgot about one very important detail: Black America.”
The spot, from Wieden+Kennedy New York, opens with a photo from 1937 that shows African American flood victims lining up to get food and clothing from a relief station in front of a billboard that shows white people smiling and driving in a car against the slogan, “World’s highest standard of living.” The ad then shifts to a more optimistic tone about perseverance: “Black Americans woke up a long time ago and set out to make their own dream.”
The ad, called “Dreams Realized,” mingles footage from Black Lives Matter marches with shots of Atlanta, the hometown of Sprite owner Coca-Cola Co. The brand and agency worked with Atlanta-based creative talent on the ad, including hip-hop photographer Cam Kirk.
Sprite released the ad after recently committing $500,000 to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, whose mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by state and vigilantes,” according to its website. Sprite is also plugging its “Give Back” program that includes partnerships with hip hop artists and industry players such as rapper 2 Chainz to provide funding to DJs affected by COVID-19.
The ad comes two days after Coca-Cola Co. pledged to pause spending on all major social media platforms, including Facebook, as part of a growing movement targeting social media players for not doing enough to curb hate speech.