Saturday 21 April 2018

Idea for 1971 Coke ad featured in 'Mad Men' finale came to real life mad man in Shannon Airport

1971 Coke ad
1971 Coke ad

The Mad Men finale this week featured a real ad for Coca Cola from 1971. 'I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke', or the Hilltop ad, was the company's most successful ever and it seems it had its origins in... Shannon Airport!

Coca Cola revealed the story on their website this week as Mad Men came to an end after seven series.

Real life Mad Man Bill Backer was creative director on the Coca-Cola account for the McMCann Erickson advertising and agency and was flying to London in January 1971 to meet with executives to write radio ads.

However, thick fog forced the flight to land at Shannon Airport, something about which the passengers were, not surprisingly, extremely displeased.

The next day, however, Becker returned to the airport for his flight and saw some of the previously furious passengers chatting and laughing together in the airport cafe, bonding over their shared experience with a Coke.

"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," said Backer.

"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."

And so the ad was born.

Online Editors

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment