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“I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke”
Google & Coke Team Up For Award Winning Mobile Campaign

buycoke_topimage_200×238.jpgWouldn’t it be great to take some of the best advertising campaigns from the past, and bring them into the 21st century world of mobile?

This is exactly what Google and Coke have done. They teamed up to re-interpret one of the most iconic ad campaigns of all time, with some of the most creative use of mobile technology that we have seen.

The results worked so well that the campaign was awarded the first Mobile Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions festival.

The Original

Forty years ago, Coca Cola ran a TV ad campaign that became one of the most successful in advertising history. The campaign was “Hilltop | I’d like to buy the world a Coke”

The original featured a collection of young people from around the world, standing on a hilltop in Italy signing a song with the refrain:

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

The original ad generated over one hundred thousand letters from consumers, and has been inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.

(the full video is below)

Using Mobile to “Buy The World a Coke”

To help re-interpret this concept and bring it into the digital, internet-based, mobile world that we live in, a team of mobile experts from Google worked with Harvey Gabor who was the art director on the original campaign. They put together a new campaign – based on the same objectives as the original – but utilizing state-of-the-art mobile marketing.

Here is how the new campaign works.

Rich media ads running across the AdMob mobile ad network offer viewers the chance to actually send a free Coke to people around the world.


If the consumer wants to participate, they are given the option to choose the location for the delivery of the free Coke from a global map. The map indicates which cities have been equipped with the special Coke vending machines.


In addition to selecting the destination city, the consumer is also encouraged to write a small message to go along with the Coke. This of course ties in well with the basic “connecting people” idea of the campaign.

And since the Coke is often being sent to a country where the local language is different from the sending location, Google Translate is used to automatically convert the message into the language of the receiving country.


Finally, a message is sent to the special vending machine in the receiving city. These are specially modified Coke vending machines that have video touch screens mounted on the front.


Passers-by are alerted that the machine would like to give them a free Coke, courtesy of someone part way around the world. They can then press the button on the screen, they see the message from the sender, and they receive their free Coke.

And of course, in keeping with the “connecting people” theme, they are given a chance to record a video and/or text message to say thank you back to the sender. This lets the original viewer share their reaction to getting a free Coke.


This is a really interesting mobile campaign, but there is a lot going on (we didn’t even mention yet the computer generated video of the Coke being sent around the world!). Take a look at the video below which shows it all working together and gives a good overall feel for the campaign.

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The Result

Although this was undoubtedly a very expensive campaign to put together and operate, it does show the incredible power to connect people that is inherent in today’s digital-internet-mobile ecosystem.

It maybe unlikely that any company trying to maximize their ROI would duplicate this approach, but it seems to be an absolute winner as a showcase to demonstrate what is achievable from mixing top creative talent with leading edge mobile technology.

More information about this campaign is available at

And for those of you who don’t remember the original Coke ad, here is a video of the 1971 “Hilltop” campaign.

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09.11.2012    Tags: , ,
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