The following piece contains spoilers about the series finale of Mad Men.
Mad Men ended in perhaps the only way it could: with Don Draper buying the world a Coke.
After spending the better part of the finale in the throes of depression, Don wound up at a retreat facility with Anna Draper’s niece, Stephanie, and had an emotional breakthrough. But as the camera pulled close to his face—and Don let out an appropriately New Age-y “ommm”—the best creative director on Madison Avenue smiled. Cut to the famous 1971 Coke commercial, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” and the end of the entire series. Are we to believe Don went back to New York after his apparent epiphany and created the iconic ad? Seems that way! (The photo on the left is from the episode; on the right, a still from the Coke commercial.)
But in real life, the Coke ad wasn’t dreamed up by Don Draper. Instead, it came from an actual McCann Erickson creative director named Bill Backer. Stuck at an airport in Ireland due to bad weather, Backer apparently saw the power of the soft drink. From the Coke website:
Watch the original ad below. Check out EW’s Mad Men recap here.