Celebrating 50 Years of an Iconic Coca-Cola® Commercial

At Old World Christmas we stay up with the times. In 2020, our Covid ornaments, like our Santa With Face Mask ornament, set records and sold out. They were a hit! Our Christmas ornaments feature all the modern amenities and conveniences of modern life, but we are also nuts for nostalgia. We love our Ginger Cottages collections, and feel like many of those special cottages exude the spirit of yesteryear. But, maybe our most nostalgic collection is our Ginger Cottages Coca-Cola® collection. It features  jolly, happy Santa checking his list, shushing a dog, and in many of the ornaments, drinking an ice-cold Coke®. 

We love our partnership with Coca-Cola®, and celebrate a nostalgic milestone with them this year. 50 years ago, in 1971, Coca-Cola® created an iconic commercial featuring young people from around the world anchoring the company as a global brand, and Coke® as a global product. “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” the simple melody goes, sung by young people dressed in traditional dress. The final shot, from a helicopter, pans out to show the whole group singing in harmony on a grassy hillside. Compared to modern digital technology used to make commercials today, the commercial itself looks out of date, but the message, the vision and the simplicity of the project still encapsulates what the Coca-Cola® company is about. 

Though the commercial itself is a simple and beautiful concept, filming it and producing it proved harder than it looked. Coca-Cola’s® advertising legend and art director at the time, Harvey Gabor, had a vision for international students singing together on a hillside. The approved budget for the commercial was $100,000, which at the time was about double the cost of making a commercial in 1971. The initial plan was to film British school children singing the song on the Cliffs of Dover in England, but with gale-force winds, it became an impossibility. The crew relocated to Rome and recasted over 1,000 students, and with rain delays, other glitches, and the production crew moving on to another project, Gabor and team were over budget and without a final product. They got permission and another $250,000 to do a complete reshoot. With a few more bumps in the road, they finally finished shooting and production of the commercial, and it became the iconic commercial we remember today. During a tense time of conflict and unknowns, this simple song became an inspiring message of connection and hope, and is still considered one of the most iconic ads ever made. 

We celebrate the 50-year anniversary of this iconic commercial, and celebrate our partnership with the Coke® brand and the world-wide recognition of coming together in harmony. We appreciate the impact their brand has made in the world, and we are so happy to be a part of it with our Ginger Cottages Coca-Cola® collection. If you aren’t familiar with it, there are Ginger Cottages ornaments featuring Santa and Coke®, as well as magical cottages with hidden secrets also featuring the classic Coke® nostalgia. 

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Written by

Rachael Mitchell

Rachael Mitchell is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington, and has over 15 years of writing experience. She’d never be able to pick just one favorite ornament, but narrowed it down to the S’more and Tennis Ball. She always looks forward to s’mores in the summer with friends and family adding gourmet ingredients, and played 4 years of college tennis in the mid-west.

1 comment

I think your best commercials were with the polar bears. You should bring them back. It would say something about global warming. You can even slip that in. Come on Coke company. I know u can do something cool. You guy’s used to be the best at christmas ads. Good luck. I’ll be hoping and watching.

Doreen Smith

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