Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Coke gets free ad thanks to Mad Men

May 19, 2015

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Image courtesy of AMC.

In 2008, the HBO series The Sopranos unexpectedly faded to black. Then came the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin.’ Sales for the classic hit skyrocketed by 482 percent on iTunes.

After Sunday’s Mad Men series finale, Coca-Cola is in a similar lucky position.

A typical 30-second commercial spot on the Mad Men finale was reported to cost between $400,000 and $500,000, but Coca-Cola got the biggest brand boost of the night completely for free.

The series ended with the brand’s famous “Hilltop” ad running in its entirety, as the apparent brain child of Don Draper after his retreat. In what is now an iconic image from the show, Draper is shown deep in meditation, and then smiles as inspiration strikes.

As soon as the “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” jingle (originally created by real life McCann Erickson ad man Bill Backer) came on screen, social media caught fire. Forbes says the ad received two weeks worth of usual brand attention, simply due to Mad Men.

Coca-Cola says it didn’t pay for the massive product placement on the show, but did approve the use of the ad.

If you’ve now got the song stuck in your head, Coke couldn’t be happier.

STORY IDEAS

Coke Did Not Pay for Its Mad Men Role

Coca-Cola Sees Massive Online Brand Lift Following Mad Men Finale

Behind a ’71 Coke Jingle, a Man Who Wasn’t Mad

Coke and Sympathy: 10 Thoughts on Mad Men Series Finale

Mad Men Ending: Don’t Wrote That Coca Cola Ad, Not Peggy

Mad Men Dreams a Dream for Coke

The Story Behind the Coca-Cola ad in the Mad Men Finale

AMC’s Debt to Mad Men

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