Why The Coke Song In The Mad Men Series Finale Sounds So Familiar

When viewers tuned in to see the "Mad Men" departure from our televisions in May of 2015, many were struck by the cheery Coca-Cola jingle that played just after Don hits an epiphany while meditating at a Californian retreat. It seamlessly overlaps with a myriad of the themes and visual motifs the series laid out over seven seasons. So it wouldn't be surprising if folks wondered whether the song was original to the series, which gave way to many fictionalized but believable ad campaigns and jingles.

However, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" wasn't from the minds of "Mad Men," but from Coca-Cola, the marketing behemoth so influential that it helped inform Americans' image of Santa Claus as a jolly, red-cheeked soda drinker. Even before "Mad Men," this song had a vibrant history and core that moved from advertisement to an actual hit single. So if you found yourself oddly struck by the familiarity of the song, even if you didn't hear the jingle during its original run, it's entirely possible it's because you'd heard it before in one way or another.

The song that won the world's hearts

In 1971, Coca-Cola tapped into the zeitgeist of the moment and created a jingle that would resonate with the post-'60s, anti-war generation. So the song "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" was born. It encouraged human togetherness and of course, buying an icy bottle of Coke.

The commercial kicks off with one woman singing before revealing a diverse group of people that sings in unison. The lyrics start, "I'd like to buy the world a home, and furnish it with love." The line "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" leads to the actual message of the jingle: that people really want a Coke. What read like a folksy manifesto on world peace resonated strongly, jumping to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

To keep the song echoing in people's minds, Coca-Cola re-recorded the jingle as a single by the band the New Seekers (does it get any more on-the-nose?). It had soda-less lyrics and a new title: "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony)." The Coke commercial would famously air again during the 1972 Super Bowl, and in 1990, a nostalgic remake of the ad featured 25 people from the original cast.

Today, folks are still drawn to the cheery, if cheesy lyrics and sing-songy vocal stylings of the New Seekers. "God, the world needs more songs like this now more than ever!" commented one YouTube user. Another wrote, "A wonderful era of magic and innocence."