Coca-Cola quietly launches pro-gay billboard ad

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Coca-Cola has launched a pro-gay advert featuring a same-sex couple raising a child – despite refusing to condemn Russia’s anti-gay laws last year.

The company has put up billboard ads in a number of countries featuring a diverse range of people enjoying Coke.

A Redditor spotted one of the company’s ads on the side of a bus stop in Amsterdam.

It features the Van Bergen family, and depicts two men playing with their son.

The ad expands: “We choose happiness over tradition”.

A spokesperson told Huffington Post that the ad campaign had been quietly launched last month, saying: “The Coca-Cola Company values and celebrates diversity.

“This ad was developed as part of our #ChooseHappiness campaign, launched in North West Europe in May. The campaign encourages us all to spread happiness, while fostering unity, diversity and respect.”

The move and statement is surprising, as the company faced protests last year when it failed to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws while sponsoring the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The company faced pressure to condemn the country’s oppression of LGBT people as one of the event’s main sponsors, but failed to do so.

Coke brushed off concerns at the time, responding: “In the spirit of the Olympic Charter we believe the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken seriously the human rights concerns you have raised and followed up on them with a strong sense of urgency.

“As part of our long-term partnership with the IOC, we continually engage with them on various issues, including those that you have raised, that relate specifically to the Olympic Games. We plan to continue these discussions.”

Coke previously featured a gay couple briefly in a TV advert – but the pair were edited out of the ad in more conservative countries, including Ireland.