Coca-Cola Mad Men Advertising

From Mad Men to Sad Men: Can Coca-Cola save happiness?


By Matthew Charlton | CEO

May 26, 2015 | 3 min read

Mad Man slips away to the perfect harmony of a bunch of reasonably stoned looking extras from Starsky and Hutch standing on the top of a hill singing about bringing a much divided and violent world (especially America) into harmony.

Whilst it looks dated now, 'I'd like to buy the world a Coke' was, and remains, a huge statement made in the context of the times it was born. And a fantastic reminder of just how important Coca-Cola's advertising work was.

It's also one of the many reasons why Coke was (and still is, in my opinion) the biggest brand in the world. Apple may be bigger in numbers but there is no greater, , more democratic and visionary brand in the world.

Open Happiness is without question in my mind the biggest brand platform on the planet. And when you look around the globe right now there has never been greater confusion about how happy we are.

Sure, we are mostly more wealthy, but apparently at the expense of recreating Victorian style poverty. We work much longer hours and are contactable 24 hours a day yet few can afford a house to live in. Technology is freeing us to explore new universes and connectivity, yet at the same time crushing the amount of attention we give to our loved ones and home life. Are we all really happy, or are we just being swept away by the ferocious speed of change? I'd love Coke to solve that question.

Coke itself is not that happy right now and under pressure over questions about the health implications of its liquid. But if Coke stopped existing tomorrow there would be meltdown among its loyal drinkers, which number half the planet. It's a genuinely important brand and product

The time is perfect for Coke to come out singing and dancing again. Every client and agency involved in Coke has a chance to do something truly remarkable over the next few years. Putting names on cans was brilliant but it can go much much further in the pursuit of making Happiness resonate.

Coke shouldn't just badge happiness but lead and help define it. Have a big point of view on it. After all, the data suggests very few governments are that bothered. Get back up that hill (although probably change up the clothing).

If Coke defined the post-Mad Man era, it can now define the post Sad Man era. And in there is the perfect opportunity.

Matthew Charlton is CEO of Brothers and Sisters. He tweets @MJCharltonesq

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