Masters Series: Harvey Gabor

Harvey Gabor — To Buy the World a Coke

While waiting for a flight at Shannon Airport in Ireland, creative director for Coca-Cola Bill Backer pens the line, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”

The line was put to song and recorded by a popular British band called The New Seekers. But if it weren’t for art director Harvey Gabor’s idea to put together ‘The First United Chorus of the World,’ the now-iconic jingle would never have taken off the way it did. Google describes the tepid response to the commercial:

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.

This year, Google partnered with Harvey Gabor and Coca-Cola to revisit the 1971 commercial for the digital natives of today. Gabor said he relished the opportunity to come full circle: “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 was art director for McCann-Erickson, where he created “Hilltop.” Gabor would later go on to receive numerous awards for the commercial, including 4 gold medals, 5 Clios and more than 100 certificate awards. Gabor is now retired and living in Michigan with his wife, Barbara.

For a further look at the man behind the commercial, watch the re-brief video of Harvey Gabor:

For a further look at the Coca-Cola campaign project re-imagined, click here. To see additional innovative advertising projects, head to our store for our advertising annuals.

Author: Rachel Lowry

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