2. The ad was not
inspired by a hippie commune.
While Don’s meditative state at the end of the series
certainly suggests a moment of Nirvana, which may have inspired the hit ad, the
real story could be nothing further from the truth.
After Backer’s flight to London was forced to land in
Ireland, Backer became inspired by the passengers who bonded over being grounded.
Backer explains that they were “laughing and sharing stories over snacks and
bottles of Coca-Cola,” which became the basis for the ad’s concept:
"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."
'MAD MEN' SERIES FINALE: Find Out What Happened to Your Favorites in the End!
3. Backer’s pitch
almost didn’t land.
When Backer pitched the idea to his client, producer Billy
Davis, it was met with a tepid response. As Coca-Cola notes in its history
books, Backer had to sell him on the idea of buying a Coke for everyone:
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."
"What would you do?"
"I'd buy everyone
a home first and share with them in peace and love," Davis said.
"Okay, that sounds good. Let's write that and I'll show you how Coke fits
right into the concept."
Once the concept was OK’d the trouble didn’t stop there. The
shoot was plagued with rain, which washed out two productions and pushed the
budget to $250,000 -- an unheard of cost for a commercial.
And then Coca-Cola bottlers were not a fan of the jingle.
Luckily, the public overwhelming disagreed.