"Buy the World a Coke" in the groundbreaking 1971 "Hilltop" television commercial for Coca-Cola and sung by The Hillside Singers. "Buy the World a Coke" was produced by Billy Davis and portrayed a positive message of hope and love, featuring a multicultural collection of teenagers on top of a hill appearing to sing the song. "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" were the main lyrics of the jingle. The commercial ended with the statement:
"On a hilltop in Italy, We assembled young people From all over the world... To bring you this message From Coca-Cola Bottlers All over the world. It's the real thing. Coke." Here is the original commercial that aired:
The idea originally came to Bill Backer, an advertising executive working for McCann Erickson, the agency responsible for Coca-Cola. Backer, Roger Cook and Billy Davis were delayed at Shannon Airport in Ireland. After a forced layover with many hot tempers, they noticed their fellow travelers the next morning were talking and joking while drinking Coca-Cola. Backer wrote the line "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" on a napkin and shared it with British hit songwriters Cook and Roger Greenaway.
The popularity of the jingle led to it being re-recorded in two versions; one by The New Seekers and another by The Hillside Singers, as a full-length song, dropping references to Coca-Cola. The song became a hit record in the US and the UK. Roger Cook explains how the Coca-Cola "Hilltop' Jingle found it's sound:
Bill Backer the advertising executive from McCann Erickson, is interviewed about his involvement with the famous ad:
Coca-Cola's “It’s the Real Thing” ads were among the first to recognize the market potential of a multicultural America. It also allowed Coke to market to a younger demographic by positioning itself as being "All American". Here is an early 1970's "It's The Real Thing" Coke ad that ran after the original:
The song became so popular that its creators revised it, adding three verses and removing product references to create a full-length song appropriate for commercial release. The full-length song was re-recorded by both The Hillside Singers and The New Seekers and both versions became huge hits.
Some brief history on the original Coca-Cola product, offers some perspective on how Coke came to become a global brand:
In 2007, Campaign magazine called it "one of the best-loved and most influential ads in TV history". Marketing analysts have noted Coca-Cola's strategy of marrying the idea of happiness and universal love of the product illustrated by the song. The commercial has continued receiving accolades in more recent times. Most recently, the commercial was also used as the final scene in the "Mad Men" series finale, as it is implied that the show's fictional protagonist, Don Draper, was behind the commercial's creation.
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