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The Story Behind the "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" Advertisement

(YouTube link)

The TV series Mad Men aired its final episode last night, and the 1971 Coca-Cola ad called "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" featured prominently. While fans of the show are debating the meaning of how it was used, the man who actually came up with the ad tells us the story behind his inspiration. Bill Backer was the creative director at McCann at the time.

See, my moment came out of truth and emergency. I had to come up with a commercial, we were getting sent to record in London and were stuck in Ireland.

I had to come up with something. I was stuck in an airport. I had a studio rented and paid for, lots of actors and producers. I looked around people were sitting there together having a coke. So I wrote that on the back of a napkin: “I’ve got to teach the world to sing. I’d like to buy the world a coke and furnish it with love.” That’s what the product was doing at the time. It just felt like I heard a voice from somewhere saying, “I’d like to be able to do this for the whole world.”

In the interview, Backer explains what his job was like in the ‘60s and how it differed from the Mad Men version. Be warned it contains a video of the final scene in the series, in case you are avoiding spoilers. -via Digg


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