The Overview

"Hilltop" (1971) - Harvey Gabor, Art Director

"Forty years ago Bill Backer and myself had a wish, and that was to
buy the world a Coke. I am honored to have lived long enough to see
that wish become a reality."
— Harvey Gabor

This year, we partnered with Coca-Cola and Harvey Gabor to re-imagine "Hilltop" for the digital age. See how a wish made in 1971 was brought to life for today’s generation.

Harvey Gabor
Harvey Gabor, 1971
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ExperienceThe Desktop Ad

The Original Ad

Bill Backer, creative director on the Coca-Cola account at McCann-Erickson, was waiting for a flight
at Shannon Airport, Ireland when he penned the line, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” on a napkin.

With the help of Billy Davis and Roger Cook, this line became a song and was recorded by The New Seekers, a popular British singing group.

However it was art director Harvey Gabor’s idea to create ‘The First United Chorus of the World’, transforming Backer’s song into a joyous celebration of unity and resulting in one of the most memorable commercials in history.

The response to the commercial was unprecedented. Requests poured into radio stations across America and Coca-Cola received thousands of letters from across the country. At a time when conflict was dominating headlines, “Hilltop” quickly became more than an ad - it became a rallying message of tolerance and hope.

Harvey Gabor, shooting the “Hiltop” commercial in Tuscany, Italy.
Harvey Gabor, shooting the “Hilltop” commercial in Tuscany, Italy.
View The Original Work

Harvey Gabor

Harvey Gabor began his career as an Art Director at McCann-Erickson. It was during his time here that he created some of his most memorable and recognized work, including “Hilltop”. Over the course of his career, Harvey received numerous accolades including 4 gold medals, 5 Clios and over 100 certificate awards for both print and television, while "Hilltop" was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame. A proud father and grandfather, he is now retired and lives with his wife, Barbara in Michigan.

  • 1971

    The Original Brief

  • 2012

    The Re-imagined Work

  • The Original Brief

    Demonstrate Coca-Cola’s power to connect people while highlighting the global ambitions of the Coca-Cola brand.

  • The Original Work

    Harvey’s television commercial featured The First United Chorus of the World, a chorus of young people from around the globe singing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” as a celebration of tolerance and unity.

  • The Re-imagined Work

    We can enable users to actually “buy the world a Coke” using Google’s display advertising platform and a series of specially-developed vending machines. In the spirit of the original work, users can record a message and send it with a Coca-Cola to connect with someone on the other side of the world. The receiver can then respond with a text or video message, completing the connection.

The New Ad

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  • Target Audience

    • Gender: Male/Female
    • Age: 13-18
    • Region: Global
    • Interests: Movies, Music, Food, Sports

    Coke increases happiness in teenagers lives through meaningful connections. Use ad setting to see how it can reach this audience with Google.

  • Ad Settings

    Terms and Conditions
    • - Or -

    Our audience and contextual targeting technologies ensure users see the most relevant ads. Select options to see the ad on different sites.

  • Dynamic Settings

    Visual voyage of your coke being sent changes based on your location. Select another location and send one more Coke to experience.

Mobile & Tablet Apps

The Tech

The Concept

Harvey’s re-imagined ad enables users to actually ‘buy the world a Coke’ from their computer or phone, and connect with someone on the other side of the world through the magic of display advertising. Users can select a location, attach a personal video or text message, and then watch as the Coke is delivered to a specially-designed vending machine on the other side of the world. The receivers at the machine can then send a thank you message back to the sender, right from the vending machine.

Desktop Mobile
  • Real-Life Social Networking

    The world is closer than ever before. Now, through the magic of ad technology and vending machines, consumers can connect with strangers across the world through a touching video or text message exchange. Ad servers communicate with vending machines in real-time, establishing unique connection opportunities between digital ads and the physical world, like never before.

  • Personalized Journeys

    Every moment of connection between two people is unique. Using Google Maps imagery and pre-rendered video and audio, the “visual voyage” of the Coca-Cola and the personal messages are dynamically compiled into a personalized film. This is then emailed to the sender as a link to be viewed and shared with the world.

  • Breaking Language Barriers

    With the ability to ‘buy the world a Coke’, users have the opportunity to bring the world closer together. Using Google Translate, all messages are translated and closed-captioned to ensure that no matter where a Coca-Cola is sent, no messages are lost in translation.

  • Experience the Magic Anywhere

    Soon, more people will access the Internet from mobile devices than computers around the world. Using AdMob, the experience is brought to life on mobile devices, making it possible to send a Coca-Cola across the world from anywhere.

How The Ad Works

  • 1

    Display & Interaction

    The user engages with the display ad on desktop or mobile
    device.

  • 2

    Message Recording

    The user records a video or text
    message to send along with his
    Coke.

  • 3

    Moderation

    The message goes through
    automated and manual
    moderation.

  • 4

    Vending Machine Queue

    The message and Coke are
    queued for delivery, waiting for a
    customer to interact with the
    vending machine.

  • 5

    Dispense And Deliver Message

    The recipient interacts with the vending machine,
    viewing the sender's message and then receiving
    a dispensed Coke.

  • 6

    Reply Recording

    The recipient records a video or
    text reply message.

  • 7

    Moderation

    The message goes through
    automated and manual
    moderation.

  • 8

    Dynamic Video
    Compositing

    The reply message is
    dynamically composited into
    a video telling the story of
    the interaction. That video is
    dynamically uploaded to
    YouTube.

  • 9

    Email (optional)

    If the sender entered their information into either the desktop or
    mobile ad, they will be sent an e-mail notification linking them
    to the composited video on YouTube.

  • 10

    Reply Received

    The sender receives notification that his Coke has been
    delivered and can view his reply message in the composited
    video.