I’d like to teach the world to sing

Way back in 1971 in the era of love and world peace, came advertising offering a solution …

‘I’d like like to buy the world a Coke.’

With a chorus introducing Coke as ‘the real thing’ the ad seemed to overflow with authenticity and hope.

“I’d like to teach the world to sing. In perfect harmony. I’d like to buy the world a Coke. And keep it company. That’s the real thing.”

With the record $250,000 spend, 150% above the initial budget, the ad was pitch perfect. Said to be the world’s most popular ad ever, and the final scene of the Mad Men epi-series. (Don’s stroke of meditative brilliance, post breakdown and almost giving up on advertising whilst at a hippy retreat more).

Coca-Cola received 100,000 letters about the ad, and radio and TV were inundated with requests to play it again. The ad was morphed into the chart topping hit ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’ by The Hillside Singers and The Seekers (reaching #1).

Such on-going intuitive and analytical insightful thinking is why Coca-Cola is the only non-tech brand in the world’s top 5 most valuable brands. Impressive, even with being a major contributor to rising obesity.

1971 was perhaps a simple time > “sharing a Coke, may just lead to world peace.” The insight of Bill Backer, literately first written on a napkin at an airport, was the right message and execution, at the right time.

What worked in 1971, may not 45 years later. There is now greater focus on the brand ‘experience’ rather than just the ‘story.’ Creativity remains critical, but there are now many exciting new platforms and opportunities.

Yet, from Square Holes’ research the hope for love and world peace is as strong as ever. And, the basic fundamentals of family (in its many machinations), the desire for TRUST in business and government delivering on promises, and the search for positive experiences are constants.

We are now better able to measure people as clicks, impressions and views. But, I fear such data can dehumanise those behind the click or no click. And, strategies can treat humans as morons or even scientific specimen. In this era of ‘authenticity and engagement,’ too often brands get it wrong.

Which creates opportunity for those getting it right.

The world today is a very different place to 1971. But, true human insight is as important as ever in making the world better, bit by bit.

Originally posted: Jul 26, 2016

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