When The Coca-Cola Company donated its UK-produced TV ads to the British Film Institute (BFI), I helped to lead the project. As part of the partnership, Coke provided the funding for the BFI to digitally restore the old adverts.
Through the project, we found some amazing ads that we’d forgotten about, including two that showed scenes from London in the swinging sixties. One portrayed Carnaby Street in its mod heyday, and the other, of Piccadilly Circus in 1969, was soundtracked by The Who, who sang Things Go Better With Coke.
Sadly, we also realised that some of the earliest adverts produced for TV had been lost. For instance, Coca-Cola made six adverts in 1956 featuring footballer John Charles and racer Sir Stirling Moss, but we could only find the one featuring dancer Alf Davies. If you have any old films in your attic or garage, drop us a line!
Through my job, I’ve really come to appreciate the way that Coca-Cola adverts have reflected changing cultures around the world. And at the Coca-Cola archives, we promise to keep working to preserve what we’ve got.