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The Hit ’70s Coca-Cola Ad Song for Hillside Singers and The New Seekers

Buy the World a Coke

Coca-Cola’s “Buy the World a Coke” jingle from the 1971 Hilltop television commercial was originally written by British songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway as “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” and vocalized by Susan Shirley.

The first and true version of the song, which was initially named “True Love and Apple Pie,” birthed more versions after the Coca-Cola ad, which featured teenagers from obviously varying backgrounds singing the jingle to portray unity.
YouTube video screenshot

U.S. advertising executive for McCann Erickson, Bill Backer collaborated with songwriter and producer Billy Davis to create the Coca-Cola jingle, which was sung by the Hillside singers once ready. The commercial version was inspired by Backer’s experience at Shannon Airport in Ireland alongside Roger Cook and Davis.

The trio had an unplanned layover and, like other affected passengers, were furious; however, they noticed that most travelers who were in a good mood the next morning had a bottle of Coke in hand as they chatted away, leading Backer to scribble the words “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” on a napkin.

Buy the World a Coke recreation
YouTube video screenshot

Following the success of the ad, the Hillside Singers, the group of studio singers Davis formed just for the commercial, released their full-length version of the song, which became a hit in the U.K. and U.S. In two weeks, it peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 5 on the Easy Listening chart, and number 58 on Canada’s RPM charts.

Buy the World a Coke more recreations
YouTube video screenshot

Another band named The New Seekers did the same, recording theirs at the Trident studios in London. They sold a total of 12 million copies, with 96,000 bought the day they debuted. Their version topped the charts in the UK and did impressively well in Canada and the U.S., where it became a gold record.