April 13, 2010

I'd Like to Teach MadAve to Sing in Obama Harmony


By Wendy McHale, Publisher

It's (was) the real thing.

I'd like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love


Grow apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves


You have to be well over 30 to be knocked out by the symbolism that Coke's "It's the Real Thing" ad campaign had for so many; back when this country was last at war, with itself and the world. It "was" the real thing.

Today in this era, it's like John Belusi said it would be, "No Coke, Pepsi." Last week we were knocked out once again with Pepsi's "Refresh Everything" campaign, which included their morphing their logo with Obama's.


Here are some quick cut glimpses of the 1969 Coke TV commercial and the Pepsi 2009 website. Wouldn't the world be a great place if we all lived inside soda pop commercials?

In his book the Care and Feeding of Ideas, award winning copywriter, Bill Backer described how he came up with the famous "Hilltop" Coca-Cola TV commercial; a spot that struck a cord in the consciousness of Madison Avenue and America during the height/depth of the VietNam War.


As creative director on Coca-Cola at McCann-Erickson, Backer was traveling to London to join two other songwriters, Billy Davis and Roger Cook, to produce radio commercials which would be sung by "The New Seekers."


"We were about to land at Heathrow but heavy fog forced the plane to land in Shannon Airport, Ireland. The passengers were irate. They were obliged to share rooms at the one hotel available at Shannon or to sleep at the airport. Tensions and tempers ran high.


I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony

The next morning, as the passengers gathered in the airport coffee shop awaiting clearance to fly, I noticed that several who had been among the most irate were now laughing and sharing stories over bottles of Coke. In that moment, I began to see a bottle of Coca Cola as more than a drink.


I began to see the familiar words, "Let's have a Coke," as 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."

I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company


It's the real thing, Coke is what the world wants today.


It's (was) the real thing.

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