Monday, May 18, 2015

The real story behind Mad Men's finale or how Don Draper saved Coca-Cola

Peace and Harmony

"I'd like to teach the world to sing...", it's a song many boomers know from their youth. The Mad Men finale suggested, via Don Draper's smile while on the hilltop in his mediation class, that he had created the Coke commercial. Just what Don needed to restart his life; a dash of Ad Man nirvana!
Mad Men's Don Draper meditating about Coca-Cola
Don's smile and the Coca-Cola ad gave us a positive feeling after a finale that seemed rushed and incomplete. I'd hoped it'd been a two hour show to add some finality and give us a bit more than a few seconds or minutes with each character. (Though yay for Peggy's new love!)

Don's breakdown at the retreat seemed to renew him and led viewers to believe he was inspired to return to McCann-Erickson Advertising Agency in New York and create some timely branding for Coca-Cola (One of his goal accounts). The message in the spot was what was needed in a post-60's America, especially after the turmoil and violence from the late 60's, not only in the USA, but around the world as well.

The Real Story about the Real Thing in 1971...

What's the true story behind this Mad Men moment?

From the Coca-Cola Company:
"I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" had its origins on January 18, 1971, in a London fog. Bill Backer, creative director on the Coca-Cola account for the McCann Erickson advertising agency, was flying to London to meet up with Billy Davis, the music director on the Coca-Cola account, to write radio commercials with two successful British songwriters, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, to be recorded by the New Seekers, a popular British singing group. The heavy fog in London forced the plane to land in Shannon, Ireland. Passengers had to remain near the airport in case the fog lifted. Some of them were furious about their accommodations. By the next day, Backer saw some of the most irate passengers in the airport cafe. Brought together by a common experience, many were now laughing and sharing stories over snacks and bottles of Coca-Cola. Backer wrote of the scene: "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."
Hilltop Singers in Coke Ad
The Coca-Cola Hilltop Singers in Italy
When he finally arrived in London, Backer told Billy Davis and Roger Cook what he had seen in the airport café. After he expressed his thoughts about buying everybody in the world a Coke, Backer noticed that Davis's initial reaction was not at all what he'd expected and asked him, "Billy, do you have a problem with this idea?" Davis slowly revealed his problem. "Well, if I could do something for everybody in the world, it would not be to buy them a Coke." Backer responded, "What would you do?" "I'd buy everyone a home first and share with them in peace and love," Davis said. Backer said, "Okay, that sounds good. Let's write that and I'll show you how Coke fits right into the concept."
Read more and see the original video here:

Thanks for the memories Mad Men and Women! 

Thanks to the outstanding performers, artists, writers, directors...everyone involved on the set and behind the scenes at AMC's Mad Men. It was well worth the ride.


How soon before "The Adventures of Don Draper - Ad Man"? - Tom

Main Cast of Mad Men
Main Cast of Mad Men

Thomas Rohe is President of SunSpots Productions. He's the former professionally named, Tom Cassidy, whose career was sidetracked by a dental injury causing lingual dystonia. Today he "speaks" online leading SunSpots web presence and keeping his dog, Buzzy, amused. 

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