Mad Men creator and director Matthew Weiner called Coke’s “Hilltop” the “best ad ever made” when asked how the 1971 commercial made its way into the final scene of the acclaimed series, which aired last Thursday.
In a 90-minute Q&A with writer A.M. Homes at the New York Public Library, Weiner said the ad was an appropriate way to end the show’s seventh and final season. In the final frames, Don Draper finds inner peace at a spiritual retreat in California after a soul-searching, cross-country journey. As he meditates, the scene cuts to the full version of the spot featuring a multicultural chorus of young people singing “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” – suggesting that the creative director would return to McCann Erickson to produce the ad.
Weiner said he enjoyed the idea that Draper’s enlightened state “might have created something that was very pure,” adding that he’d had the idea to use the Coke ad since the show was renewed after its fourth season.
The commercial and its cultural significance meshed with the final season’s storyline, which followed the arc of the 1960s.
“That ad is so much of its time, so beautiful… it comes from a very good place,” Weiner said. “Five years before that, black people and white people couldn’t even be in an ad together.”
He added, "In the abstract, I did think: Why not end this show with the greatest commercial ever made?”