“Imagine if one day capitalism reaches the point, where the big brands starts to sponsor the superheroes. How would this influence their images?”
Being a superhero doesn’t seem to be a lucrative gig, but what if it was? Brands sponsor athletes and celebrities all the time, and with the increasing popularity of superheroes, it’s not all that shocking to think that The Incredible Hulk could one day be rocking a massive Monster logo across his chest.
Italian graphic designer Roberto Vergati Santos imagined many of our favorite superheroes sponsored by our favorite brands. The aptly titled ‘Sponsored Heroes’ series sees characters from both the Marvel and DC Comics universe, and includes all the members of The Avengers, Batman, Wolverine, and many more. Batman can be seen sporting a Nike suit of armor, while Iron Man has been stamped with the golden arches of McDonald’s, and Captain America is seen holding a massive UPS shield. Check out some of the superheroes from the collection below.
IRON MAN – Sponsored by McDonald’s
HULK - Sponsored by Monster Energy
WOLVERINE - Sponsored by Adidas
BATMAN - Sponsored by Nike
CAPTAIN AMERICA - Sponsored by UPS
FLASH - Sponsored by Red Bull
AVENGERS - Sponsored by Coca-Cola
SILVER SURFER- Sponsored by Apple
SUPERMAN - Sponsored by Giorgio Armani
IRON MAN (Sponsored by McDonald’s) vs CAPTAIN AMERICA (Sponsored by Burger King)
1 – Procter & Gamble – Best Job
Arguably the most memorable Olympics 2012 ad, Procter & Gamble champions mums in this commercial titled ‘Best job’. The tear jerker, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland, follows four child athletes on their path to the London Olympic Games, supported, cared for and encouraged by their mothers every step of the way.
2 – Nike – Find Your Greatness
Nike does it again. Now famous for its ambush marketing tactics around major global sporting events, the sports apparel giant launched ‘Find your greatness’ in 25 countries yesterday to coincide with the opening ceremony. Cleverly avoiding any mention of London 2012 and the Olympic rings, the ad features places across the world with ‘London’ in their names, along with local everyday athletes enjoying their sports. The ad was created by Nike’s longterm agency partner Wieden + Kennedy.
3 – Coca-Cola – Move to the Beat
Mother London, Mark Ronson and Coca-Cola traveled the world to create a new dance track using the sounds of sport from 5 Olympic hopefuls.
4 – Omega – Star Me Up
A remix of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Start me up’ sets the pace for this commercial with the same title for Omega, the official timekeeper of the Olympics 2012. The ad lingers on the moments right before the start of a race or event, the tension felt by the athletes as they hone their focus for the task ahead.
5 – McDonald’s – Rivals
The Olympic spirit lives within us all. And when gold medals don’t provide enough motivation for greatness, McDonald’s is proud to serve the Happy Meals, Big Macs, and Fries that put everyone in the mood for a little competition.
6 – British Airways – London Calling
British Airways has launched its Olympic advert as anticipation builds ahead of the Games. It features one of BA’s jets strolling through London and showcasing landmarks such as Trafalgar Square and the Palace of Westminster, before taking in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Best of all though, it is set to the soundtrack of The Clash’s London Calling
7 – Adidas – What will you take?
Among others, Olympic Games sponsor Adidas created ‘What will you take?’ in support of Team Great Britian in partnership with agency Sid Lee. The colourful advert touches on all aspects of being an Olympian, both good and bad, as it challenges the athletes to take the stage and embrace this fleeting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
8 – Icy Dew – Sixty Percent
Taking a break from the blood, sweat and tears approach, Coca-Cola bottled water brand Icy Dew created this amusing ’60 per cent water’ TVC in partnership with BBH Shanghai ahead of the Games. While this one might not stir the Olympian in you, it will certainly make you chuckle.
9 – Powerade – Power Through
Another Wieden + Kennedy addition, Powerade‘s ‘Power through’ Olympics advert focuses on “the line between breaking point and breaking through”, the extra effort that makes the difference between those athletes that go home with a medal and those that return disappointed. More muscles, more tension and another emotionally charged voice-over, the real stuff of Olympics advertising.
10 – Samsung – Are You Ready?
Cheil Worldwide launched this ‘Are you ready?’ ad for Olympic sponsor Samsung in support of its Galaxy S3 model across 20 countries this week. Olympics ambassador David Beckham signals the start of the event by kicking a ball against a gong in an impressive long-range shot.
11 – Visa- The Difference
Worldwide sponsor Visa has been putting its name to the Olympic Games for 25 years. This ad, titled ‘The difference’, was created by TBWA Chiat Day Los Angeles and narrated by Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman. This is just one in a series of Sepia-coloured ads marking Visa’s quarter century partnership with the Games this year.
12 – National Lottery Funded Athletes - Jenny Meadow Mother’s Story
Inspired by the story of 800 metres runner Jenny Meadows’ mother, our newest TV advert looks at how National Lottery funding helps British athletes achieve their dreams. Extended version. Thanks to TNL players we’re helping over 1,200 British athletes fulfil their dreams at London 2012 and beyond. No-one has contributed more to our athletes than our players.
13 – EDF - Powering The Games
EDF is an official partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, supplying the Olympic Park with low carbon electricity for a sustainable Olympics to remember.
14 – GlaxoSmithKline - Marlon Devonish
Touching on the ugly side of sport, GlaxoSmithKline features English sprinter Marlon Devonish to promote its provision of anti-doping laboratory services at the Games. Created by TBWA London, the advert takes the viewer inside the athlete’s body to experience the tension and exhilaration as he prepares to run the race of a lifetime.
15 – BP - Fuelling The Future
BP is proud to be the Official Oil and Gas Partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad.
This new initiative of Coca Cola -developed by Ogilvy Action- was launched during an event where over 500 people enjoyed the match Argentina vs. Colombia, all non-stop encouraging in order to keep watching the TV screen on.
With the unconditional support as the main feature of Argentine fans, created the first giant screen that works only with people’s breath for the parties of the national team. As the public speech during the meeting, a “Cheer-o-meter” connected to a giant screen, reflects the intensity of breath and regulates the visibility of the screen that broadcasts the game live. Thus, the more encouraged the fans, the more visibility you have and the less encouraging, the screen begins to fade.
The action was developed from the concept of “Always refresh your breath,” the message that the brand is pursuing various initiatives to be present along with the fans and encourage the selection.
Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, Buenos Aires
General Creative Directors: Javier Mentasti, Maximiliano Maddalena, Silvio Panizza
Creative Directors: Rodrigo Isaia – Alejandro Garone
Production Company: Awards Cine
Director: Matías Goldberg
In 1969, The Coca-Cola Company and its advertising agency, McCann-Erickson, ended their popular “Things Go Better With Coke” campaign, replacing it with a campaign that centered on the slogan “It’s the Real Thing.” Beginning with a hit song, the new campaign featured what proved to be one of the most popular ads ever created.
The story behind the song
The song “I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke” had its origins on January 18, 1971, in a fog. Bill Backer, the creative director on the Coca-Cola account for McCann-Erickson, was traveling to London to join two other songwriters, Billy Davis and Roger Cook, to write and arrange several radio commercials for The Coca-Cola Company that would be recorded by the popular singing group the New Seekers. As the plane approached Great Britain, heavy fog at London’s Heathrow Airport forced it to land instead at Shannon Airport, Ireland. The irate passengers were obliged to share rooms at the one hotel available in Shannon or to sleep at the airport. Tensions and tempers ran high.
The next morning, as the passengers gathered in the airport coffee shop awaiting clearance to fly, Backer noticed that several who had been among the most irate were now laughing and sharing stories over bottles of Coke. As Backer himself recalled in his book The Care and Feeding of Ideas:
In that moment . . . began to see a bottle of Coca-Cola as more than a drink. . . . began to see the familiar words, “Let’s have a Coke,” as . . . actually a subtle way of saying, “Let’s keep each other company for a little while.” And knew they were being said all over the world as sat there in Ireland. So that was the basic idea: to see Coke not as it was originally designed to be—a liquid refresher—but as a tiny bit of commonality between all peoples, a universally liked formula that would help to keep them company for a few minutes.
Backer’s flight never did reach London. Heathrow Airport was still fogged in, so the passengers were redirected to Liverpool and bussed to London, arriving around midnight. At his hotel, Backer immediately met with Billy Davis and Roger Cook, finding that they had completed one song and were working on a second as they prepared to meet the New Seekers’ musical arranger the next day. Backer told them he thought they should work through the night on an idea he had had: “I could see and hear a song that treated the whole world as if it were a person—a person the singer would like to help and get to know. I’m not sure how the lyric should start, but I know the last line.” With that he pulled out the paper napkin on which he had scribbled the line, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.”
The three members of the writing team that night each brought a different perspective to their task. Billy Davis, of McCann-Erickson, had toured as a member of the singing group the Four Tops and had written several songs for the powerful and popular Motown music production organization. Roger Cook, a native of Bristol, England, had teamed with Roger Greenaway to write several 1960s pop standards including “You’ve Got Your Troubles” and “Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress).” Bill Backer was from Charleston, South Carolina, and had written the jingle “Things Go Better with Coke” as well as the jingle for “The Real Thing” campaign.
Appropriately, then, each contributed something different to the song they wrote together that night. Davis provided the core idea for the opening line, that everyone needs a home. Backer gave it the same pattern as the line he’d written, so that it became “I’d like to build the world a home.” And perhaps because this was, after all, the late 1960s, the three decided that the home should be furnished “with love.” Cook might have drawn on British folksong imagery when he contributed the line “Grow apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves,” which Backer and Davis at first thought too grand but eventually accepted for its poetic quality. Next, Backer penned a variation of the opening line: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Coming full circle, the last line expressed the song’s original idea: “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.”
The melody was based on a Roger Cook-Roger Greenaway song that Cook and Davis reworked to incorporate the melody used for the campaign slogan “It’s the Real Thing.” This allowed them to weave the updated slogan “It’s the real thing, Coke is what the world wants today” into the new song’s harmonizing voice parts. This was the result:
I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love,
Grow apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves.
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.
It’s the real thing, Coke is what the world wants today.
The next day, Backer, Cook, and Davis presented the lyrics and melody they had created during their all-night brainstorming session to David Mackay, the arranger for the New Seekers, with instructions to make his arrangement warm and appealing but not too cute. It was immediately decided that the ad should begin with New Seekers vocalist Eve Graham in order to have a woman initiate the message. And after trying out several versions in which the New Seekers attempted to sing the song as a typical advertising jingle, Backer and Davis convinced them to relax and use their own folk/pop style instead. Several weeks later, on February 12, 1971, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” was shipped to radio stations throughout the United States.
It promptly flopped. The Coca-Cola bottlers hated the ad and most refused to buy airtime for it. The few times the ad was played, the public paid no attention. Bill Backer’s idea that Coke connected people appeared to be dead.
Backer persuaded McCann to convince Coca-Cola executives that the ad was still viable but needed a visual dimension. His approach succeeded: the company eventually approved more than $250,000 for filming, at the time one of the largest budgets ever devoted to a television commercial. Backer then spent weeks canvassing the McCann creative staff for ideas, until Harvey Gabor, a young art director, proposed that the song be treated for television as a “First United Chorus of the World.” He envisioned a group of young people from all nations, in clothing representing their nationalities, singing the song on a green hillside. Gabor’s idea prevailed, and McCann prepared to shoot the commercial.
Producing the ad, however, proved to be one of the most challenging projects in the agency’s history. What kept the project alive was belief in the strength of the ad’s basic message, that Coca-Cola is a bond connecting people to one another.
Because London had been the song’s starting point, the ad’s creators decided that the “green hill” of its setting should be the storied cliffs of Dover on England’s southern coast. By March, 1971, a McCann production crew including Billy Davis, Harvey Gabor, and agency producer Phil Messina traveled with photographer/director Haskell Wexler to England to begin work. The chorus, they decided, would consist of several thousand British school children and would feature sixty-five principals who would be seen at close range. The children were cast and rehearsed “lip synching” moving their lips silently as though they were singing—to the New Seekers rendition of the song. Filming was set to begin on April 8, but three days of continuous rain, with more forecast, forced postponements. The McCann staff decided to move the shoot to Rome, which promised a more favorable climate.
In Italy, the producers had to cast a new group of children by searching schools and youth hostels. One English singer, the “head girl,” was brought to Italy to reprise her role. Production was to begin at 7:30 on the appointed morning with close-up shots of the sixty-five new principal singers in the flattering morning light. Unfortunately, it rained that morning for the first time in weeks. When the rain cleared in the afternoon, the leads were filmed singing the song while the “extra” children waited. Finally, late in the day, some twelve hundred children were spaced out on the top of the hill for the climactic shot from a helicopter. With light fading after only a few takes, the children broke ranks and began running down the hill to get more Coke from the truck carrying the props.
When the film was developed there were some unpleasant surprises. The zoom lens used for the close shots was faulty: every frame was out of focus. Additionally, the light levels on the helicopter shots were too low. The lead female singer then informed the crew that she had just been married and was going on her honeymoon and would be unavailable for any additional filming. McCann had now used its entire budget waiting for the rain to end in England and generating unusable footage in Rome.
To keep the ad alive, the McCann production crew went back to the drawing board. They cut the number of children in the youth chorus from twelve hundred to five hundred and began the search for a new female lead. They filled the ranks of the chorus by contacting the foreign embassies in Rome and drawing from their residents. As principals, they selected some forty young people between the ages of fifteen and nineteen. And when they spotted Linda Neary, a British governess living in Rome, walking down the street pushing a baby carriage, they decided she looked perfect for the part of the female lead. Two days before shooting was scheduled to begin, Neary agreed to take the part and the cast was set.
A new local film company, Roma Films, was contracted to film the commercial. Billy Davis rehearsed the young people lip synching to the New Seekers’ recording, and filming began on a different hillside the following day. Roma Films changed the strategy that had been used for the earlier shooting, filming the larger group shots first as Davis conducted the chorus. The aerial views showing the entire group from the vantage point of a helicopter were filmed next, while the tight close-ups were actually filmed at a racetrack near Rome.
The television ad “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” was released first in Europe, where it garnered only a tepid response. It was then released in the U.S. in July, 1971, and the response was immediate and dramatic. By November of that year, Coca-Cola and its bottlers had received more than a hundred thousand letters about the ad. At that time the demand for the song was so great that many people were calling radio stations and asking them to play the commercial. Clearly, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” had struck a chord deeper than the normal response to the advertisement of a commercial product, and Billy Davis asked Bill Backer to rewrite the lyrics without the references to Coke.
Because the New Seekers were initially unavailable to record the new version, a group calling itself the Hillside Singers recorded it with a country-and-western flavor and released it as a single. When the New Seekers began an American tour several weeks latter, they re-recorded the new lyrics and released a second single. Both version sold well in fact, at one point, the New Seekers version was listed among the top ten songs on the American pop music charts while the Hillside Singers version was number thirteen. Such successes were repeated around the world as the ad’s popularity expanded. Recordings of the song and versions of the sheet music appeared in a variety of languages to fill an ever-increasing demand.
“I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” has had a lasting connection with the viewing public. Advertising surveys consistently identify it as one of the best commercials of all time, and the sheet music continues to sell more than thirty years after the song was written. Such is the power of television advertising that through the enduring popularity of this ad, at least, Coke has borne out something of Backer’s ambitious claims for it, becoming a common connection among people.
Behind the scenes
- Hilltop” is the first historical ad ever to be restored in High Definition (HD). It can still be viewed by the public as it was donated to the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2000.
- The international cast included actors from more than 20 countries.
- The opening scene was shot at a horse racetrack outside of Rome forcing unusual camera angles during the opening scene as the director tried to avoid having telephone wires in the background of the shots; the rest of the commercial was shot on the hilltop.
- Within 10 days of the U.S. release of “Hilltop,” The Coca-Cola Company received 10,000 letters from consumers thanking the Company for the message in the ad. Consumers also called television stations asking when the commercial was scheduled to air.
- The song “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” was written in less than 24 hours.
- The cast did not actualy sing “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” but rather lip-synced to a New Seekers recording
Interview with Bill Backer
Interview conducted with Bill Backer about his role in creating the famous Coca-Cola ad, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.” Backer co-composed the ad with Billy Davis, Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook in January 1971. Backer was the creative director for McCann Erickson when the ad was made. The Coca-Cola Archives interviewed Backer in 2007.
The Hilltop Reunion
In 1990, a follow-up to this commercial, called “Hilltop Reunion”, aired during coverage of Super Bowl XXIV. It featured the original singers (now adults) and their children, and culminated in a medley of this song and the then-current “Can’t Beat the Real Thing” jingle.
NASCAR Sprint Cup
In 2010, Coca-Cola once again used the song in a television commercial featuring the entire line of its sponsored NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. The commercial included the drivers singing the song while driving in a race. The following year, information on how many dollars it would take “to buy the world a Coke” was given in a commercial featuring the red silhouette of a Coke bottle and the melody of the song.
British band Oasis were sued after their recording “Shakermaker” borrowed its melody and some lyrics directly; they were forced to change their composition. Oasis tribute band NoWaySis released a cover of “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing”, entering the British charts at No.27 in 1996.
In 2007, Campaign magazine called it “one of the best-loved and most influential ads in TV history” It served as a milestone—the first instance of the recording industry’s involvement with advertising.Marketing analysts have noted Coca-Cola’s strategy of marrying the idea of happiness and universal love of the product illustrated by the song.
Advertising Agency: McCann-Erickson, USA
Creative Director: Bill Backer
Art Director: Harvey Gabor
Director: Roberto Malenotti
Agency Producer: Phil Messina
Music: Billy Davis, Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Bill Backer