Mad Men Series Finale: The Real Star Behind The Coca-Cola Commercial
The series finale of “Mad Men” saw Don Draper, played by 2008 Golden Globe award recipient Jon Hamm, meditating on a hillside, which was followed by the 1971 “Hilltop” Coca-Cola commercial.
The final scene gave rise to a debate as to who wrote the iconic advertisement.
Viewers tweeted their thoughts and reactions about the finale.
According to Coca-Cola’s website, in actuality, though, the commercial was created by Bill Backer, creative directive on the Coca-Cola account for the McCann-Erickson advertising agency at the time. The idea for the advertisement first occurred to Backer when he was traveling to meet with the music director on the Coca-Cola account, Billy Davis, and British songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway in London.
However, the flight was forced to land in Shannon, Ireland, due to bad weather conditions. Backer saw how passengers, who were irritated initially, seemed to calm down after consuming food and Cokes in the airport cafeteria.
Backer said, “In that moment [I] saw a bottle of Coke in a whole new light… [I] began to see a bottle of Coca-Cola as more than a drink that refreshed a hundred million people a day in almost every corner of the globe. So [I] began to see the familiar words, ‘Let’s have a Coke,’ as more than an invitation to pause for refreshment. They were actually a subtle way of saying, ‘Let’s keep each other company for a little while.’ And [I] knew they were being said all over the world as [I] sat there in Ireland. So that was the basic idea: to see Coke not as it was originally designed to be — a liquid refresher — but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples, a universally liked formula that would help to keep them company for a few minutes.”
According to Vulture, Davis and Backer came up with the song, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” along with Greenaway and Cook. Harvey Gabor, the art director, came up with the idea of a chorus with multicultural individuals. After encountering some problems, the advertisement was shot in Italy with a budget of $250,000.
The Hilltop underlined Backer’s career and earned him an induction into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1995.
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