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'Mad Men' Finale: The Story Behind the Coke Ad

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AMC's "Mad Men" ended its series run with a nod to one of the most iconic ads in history, Coca-Cola's 1971 "Hilltop" ad. WSJ's John Jurgensen joins Tanya Rivero to discuss. Photo: Coca-Cola Don’t miss a WSJ video, subscribe here: http://bit.ly/14Q81Xy More from the Wall Street Journal: Visit WSJ.com: http://www.wsj.com Visit the WSJ Video Center: https://wsj.com/video On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/wsj/videos/ On Twitter: https://twitter.com/WSJ On Snapchat: https://on.wsj.com/2ratjSM
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Text Comments (101)
Aqila N. (22 days ago)
Coke ads never work on me. I've never bought a coke in my life
Anissa B. (1 month ago)
Jonathan Sumampong (1 month ago)
Did Don Draper is the guy behind the coke ad at MicCan? I mean in the story? So he went back to the company?
Ismael Vallejo (2 months ago)
No Don Draper came up with it
JACKnJESUS (5 months ago)
I wonder how much time the guy spent on arranging the books in the background.
Jeff Kingston (8 months ago)
In my opinion, not an advert for coke, given the tone of the show, i don't think Don raced back to make the coke advert. If anything it was an ironic us of the famous ad.
عبدالملك (8 months ago)
There will never be a divisive ending like The Sopranos
David Jones (8 months ago)
Just finished watching the entire series. I was concerned that they would have him committing suicide at the end...after all, for 92 episodes we kept looking at a man falling from a high building at the start. The real ending was perfect and a happy ending of sorts, apart from Betty dying. Loved the show. Especially Christina Hendricks. No wonder they introduced sexual harassment laws within the workplace. Even guys felt the stab of every sleazy remark.
Mr Pablo The Series (5 months ago)
I finished it tonight. Jesus lord was it amazing. I really thought Don was going to jump off the cliff at the end. but...instead...we got something much more amazing. aaahhhh. what a show.
Zelga Betts (8 months ago)
I remembered how this Ad became so phenomenal that they run through the 80’s. Truly perfection.
Marilyn S (4 months ago)
Jo Betts : It came out in 1971 and ran through the 70s, rather than the 80s. It is tied to the programme because it's suggesting that Don went back to NYC and ended up making this ad. If you think back to all the discussions they were having before Don went off on his trip. It's fiction mixed with fact. Didn't you get that?
sparklyunicorn (10 months ago)
Coke... bringing the world together in obesity and diabetes <3 Ah, a capitalist love story lol
STEPHEN SHELDON (1 year ago)
Believe it or not, I called The finale. All the whispers, about landing Coca Cola thru out The series
Caesar Best (1 year ago)
I didn't get this ending at all, great to have some context.
dandy-lions (1 year ago)
The books in the guy's background is absurdly pretentious. Franzen's "Corrections" boldly sitting there...
BlueRoseRocketBand (1 year ago)
Maybe satisfying for a bunch of Obo spawned snowflake Marxist scum.
Joe Barrett (10 months ago)
Dude, try some decaf.
David Hutchinson (1 year ago)
What's with all the hate? Why do right wingers seethe with anger all the time? I know the fringe left is a bit off the chain these days....but those of us here who believe that the middle class got f'd over 30 years ago probably agree on a lot of things you support. but keep that hate alive.
M Dixon (1 year ago)
I remember watching that ad on TV.
noxomus (1 year ago)
the song was composed by the group "The Seekers"
Sally Williams (1 year ago)
No, it was composed by Bill Backer, Billy Davis, Roger Cook & Roger Greenaway, the commercial was recorded by The New Seekers, who also recorded the most successful pop version after the ad became a huge hit
KAT TEMPLE (1 year ago)
NWO BIG-MOUTH (2 years ago)
Wonderful series. Excellent ending. His smirk. Iconic commercial. Don had a Coke and a smile!
Jordan Ulbrich (2 years ago)
Dont quote me but didnt this Commercial start the series?
Mark Richards (8 months ago)
Johnny R I believe it was 1961 because Kennedy hadn’t been elected yet
sisco3404 (1 year ago)
It started in late 50's. It showed Cuban Missile crisis and Kennedy's election..and the events leading up to it.
Johnny R (1 year ago)
Jordan Ulbrich impossible, the show began around 64
Jack Smith 777 (2 years ago)
And Don rooted them all....
Kempes SFA (2 years ago)
Still prefer the season 5 ending. But this was pretty good too.
TonyTony (8 months ago)
GuyX 1 Coca Cola ending captures the whole essence of the whole show. That’s why Weiner chose exactly that ending. I think it totally makes sense
GuyX 1 (10 months ago)
Yep. That would've been a great series finale. The episode itself wasn't that great tho but that ending? With that song? "Are you alone?" Perfect. Had the season 5 ending been the series finale, Mad Men would be right beside the Sopranos as greatest of all time. But the last two seasons just didn't have what the first 4 had.
CAPTAIN (2 years ago)
Boardwalk empire had the best ending
Lilly Feher (2 years ago)
Read labels you will notice sugar is in a lot of items. Don't blame it all on soda.
victor paredes (2 years ago)
ooouuu now i get it hahah in my mind Don was happy beacouse thanks to hippy yoga he was Dick all over again not Don Drapper
Peaches Boling (2 years ago)
would be nice people united instead of dividing
Arnie Niblick (2 years ago)
+Peaches Boling I totally disagree.
Sascha Wintjes (2 years ago)
Noooo!! I haven't seen it yet... f***k
Anthony (2 years ago)
+Sascha Wintjes lol that's your fault completely
Bonnie Kerr (3 years ago)
The person credited for writing the sing didn't write the song. Maybe had the idea for the coke ad, after the song was written.
Sebastian Frilund (3 months ago)
Google ”glädjens herre var en gäst” it’s the same Chorus
towguy76 (2 years ago)
Bonnie Kerr ** "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" is a pop song that originated as the jingle "Buy the World a Coke" in the groundbreaking 1971 "Hilltop" television commercial for Coca-Cola. "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. "Buy the World a Coke" repeated "It's the real thing" as Coca-Cola's marketing theme at the time. The popularity of the jingle led to it being re-recorded by The New Seekers and 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. Origins 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 melody was derived from a jingle by Cook and Greenaway, originally called "True Love and Apple Pie". The commercial ended with the statement: "On a hilltop in Italy, we assembled young people from all over the world to bring you the message from Coca-Cola bottlers all over the world. It's the real thing. Coke." The song became so popular that it was recorded by The New Seekers and by The Hillside Singers as a full-length song—without the mention of Coke—and both versions became huge hits. A version of the song was rerecorded by Susan Shirley and released in 1971. Cook, Greenaway, Backer, and Billy Davis reworked the song and recorded it as a Coca-Cola radio commercial.**
TheLang0lier (3 years ago)
It's a coke anti advertisement in fact because D, Draper kind of rejects the world in this last episode . The advertisement starts with I want to buy the world a home , grow apple trees and in the end in goes to some coke.
Johnny R (1 year ago)
TheLang0lier in the end he has that moment of clarity and realized that only love can vanquish hate which is indeed what he had for the world and where he worked. This last scene including the ad suggests that don, in a moment of clarity and beautiful peace comes up with a beautiful ad, For the company he works for (Mcann erickson) which was indeed the agency where this ad came from back in 71 seeing as McCann erickson is indeed a real ad agency still to this day.
Aiden Boomer (3 years ago)
fuckin makes me angry the way she says finale
Anthony (2 years ago)
+Aiden “BluRayFanatic” Boomer Wanna talk about it over a bottle of coke?
leo jones (3 years ago)
I N F I N I T I V (3 years ago)
It's not surprising Matt chose to use the real ad. Heck, the entire show had so many real life events incorporated into it. This ad being iconic in its time only makes sense to use.
Jack Ding (3 years ago)
SpikeFlea (6 months ago)
Borys Vengerov (1 year ago)
And the hostess' name is Tanya Rivero, which is very Italian, so I would agree with you and trust her on that.
No, sir, it's an ITALIAN word, meaning originally the last movement of a piece of music or an Opera act. Most of musical terminology is italian. Her pronunciation is relatively good, giving the natural difficulties of anglo-saxons to pronounce romance languages ..
Chels Appiah (2 years ago)
John Q Public (2 years ago)
+NapsterDawson Becasue that's how its said. Do you think its 'fin-ally'? If you do, check correct French pronunciation, as its a French word. Not an 'American' one.
Mormaia (3 years ago)
Miss you Mad Men!!!!
Vintage Mixer (3 years ago)
Its a shame the final episode promoted coke.
SpikeFlea (6 months ago)
IKR. Pepsi would have been much better
Roland Ravina (1 year ago)
You are too stupid to understand. Idiot
F Gordon (1 year ago)
I'm here cuz I hummed this song to my infant son to sleep. lots of stuff you all intake is garage like your favorite food... pizza which a slice is about 500 calories, McD, Starbuck and so on. So cola is good and bad for us. I drink it to soothe my stomach over Pepto Bismal... peace and love y'all
Di Monty (1 year ago)
Bob Vail j
Bob Vail (1 year ago)
Well said. I have switched from diet cola to the real thing with real sugar which I believe is less harmful than artificial sweeteners. I treat myself to an occasional can of regular coke. Pour it into a tall glass full of cracked ice and I am in a happy place. Water does not do the same thing for me, but I do drink it even though W.C. Fields warned us about it. Diabetes has been mentioned in this blog. My wife (type 1) employs soda to bring her glucose back up when it is low. Some folks who are hypoglycemic must bring their glucose up and a can of pop is one way to do it. I had an employee many years ago who was type 1 and always had a bag of suckers in his car. I thought what the hell is that all about? Found out later when I married a diabetic.
jules kinkead (3 years ago)
the sopranos ending is not a mystery for us. shows end with the screen going dark and the music continuing to play. there were references in the show to the guy in the members only jacket. everything we see in the diner while they are waiting for their kid is through tony's eyes. what he is looking at and looking up when the bell rings. the sudden blackout and music stop is tony killed. the credits did not roll for awhile.
editphil (1 year ago)
Also David Chase said everything for the finale was ont he screen - Remember aout 4 episodes prior - When STve Sharipa was in the boat on the lake with Tony, and they were talking about death. Tony said - "Everything just goes black" David Chase, indeed, had it ont he screen. Brilliant!
celticlofts (3 years ago)
The flight was diverted to Shannon Ireland and initially the passengers were unhappy about not making it to London. But evidently they had a great time in Ireland and were talking about it at the airport the next day that gave Backer the idea for the ad.
Ballsarama (3 years ago)
The audience is kind of primed for this ending in Don's collect call to Peggy...she asks him if he's coming back to work on the CokaCola account.
Nick Lock (11 months ago)
Also two episodes earlier he looks thoughtful at that coke machine at his motel when his car broke down
toology55 (3 years ago)
I'd like to buy the world a coke, and give it diabetes.
jlalewicz (1 year ago)
Poison is whats in all these energy drinks. Once people have been drinkin these things long enough that researchers can get enough significant data on them, people are going to be horrified. I'm an RN so I'm not exactly making an uneducated comment here but all one need do islook on the side of the can, read the ingredients and take a whiff of it. Honestly I don't understand how this wouldn't be enough to give EVERYONE pause. We already know theyre not good for your heart and if you've already got pre existing heart trouble your playing Russian Roulette every time you drink one. Many people are walking around with undiagnosed heart problems therefore they don't know what theyre doing to themselves perhaps until they feel their heart pounding, wanting to jump out of their chests, they have trouble catching their breath and pass out.
mousstard (1 year ago)
Diabetes. Now that's a real thing XD
iguanaescobar (2 years ago)
I don´t like Coke, I consider it almost poison and will always prefer a glass of plain water from the tap, but the 1971 add is just great.
tremer 2009 (2 years ago)
!:D Thanks, "toology55.":) FEEL THE BEuRN (be a "fan")?:)
tremer 2009 (2 years ago)
Lack of Insulin causes Diabetes?!:D Very few Humans eat "ice cream?!" Excessive sugar consumption is Highly toxic AND is ALSO a "Causal Factor" in COUNTLESS Diseases Worse than "diabetes!:D What Point are you attempting to Support: "1%ER ORCS" are 'loyal' to the End (RAPTURE)?!?:D Thanks, "False Flag.":) FEEL THE BEuRN (be a "fan")?:)
Brian Rapp (3 years ago)
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Ferdie Fox (2 years ago)
Brian Rapp ??

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