Asian American Commercial Watch: Mad Men’s Series Finale: ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke Commercial’

I’m a fan of the now completed AMC series ‘Mad Men,‘ (though I have to say, relative to ‘Breaking Bad,’ I thought was somewhat over-rated). This past week, ‘Mad Men’ concluded its series and the last scene is with one of the most famous, recognized and successful television commercials of all time, Coca-Cola’s ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke Commercial‘ – and quite possible the first Asian American Commercial Watch post I would ever write – if I were a brilliant genius baby, since the commercial first aired in the year I was born in 1971.

In watching, and re-watching the famous Coke ad, I couldn’t help myself in noticing these Asian faces (amongst others in the crowd):


After reading this Slate article on “What Coke Taught the World 111 56 13 The “It’s the Real Thing” ads were among the first to recognize the market potential of a multicultural America.” – and replaying the commercial many times, that I thought I should blog about this commercial and agree with these sentiments:

“The hilltop commercial was among the first that Coca-Cola shot in full color. More important, it was perhaps the nation’s first colorized one—an unusual advertisement that admitted a possible multicultural future beyond whiteness.

Conceived during the fall of 1968, the Real Thing commercials would incept the drink into a new dream of America, in which divisions between young and old, counterculture and mainstream, Black and white, poor and rich, liberal and conservative had been resolved. In this era of fragmentation and unrest, it was time for the universal drink, like Brand U.S. itself, to reassert some alpha swag.”

Certainly, a vision much brighter than the racist Calgon commercial of “Ancient Chinese secret, huh?” which had aired in the 1970s as well that I had commented about so long ago:

To be honest, I am shocked that Coca-Cola does not have a higher quality video of their iconic commercial hosted on YouTube or elsewhere (like their homepage!).

A lot of people didn’t like the ending of ‘Mad Men’ in regards to the main character, Don Draper, but to me, it’s clear that he returned back to New York City and created the the Coca-Cola commercial in ‘Mad Men”s fictionalized world.


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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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