McCann’s “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke”: A Look Back at an Advertising Icon

Coke’s “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke”: Timeless Anthem of Unity

A Story of Inspiration: Coke’s 1971 “Hilltop” ad, etched in memory as “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” remains one of advertising’s most beloved creations. The ad’s creator, Bill Backer, saw something profound in a simple scene: passengers sharing laughter and Coke over delayed flights. This inspired him to envision Coke not just as a drink, but as a “little social catalyst” bringing people together.

The Message: The iconic lyrics (“I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.”) embody a universal yearning for connection, harmony, and shared moments. The ad’s director, Harvey Gabor, masterfully translated this into a visual symphony, uniting young people from around the world on a sun-drenched Italian hilltop.

Impact and Relevance: In a world grappling with division, “Hilltop” resonated profoundly. It transcended its time, becoming a beacon of hope and tolerance. As Roger Greenaway, one of the songwriters, remarked, it offered a message of peace and camaraderie during a tumultuous era.