If the very thought of National Have a Coke Day on May 8 makes you want to break into song, you’re not alone. Recorded countless times since it was written in 1971, the song “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” accompanied the brilliant hilltop coke commercial with the words “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” and “It’s the real thing” added to make it a haunting and enduring synthesis of coke, peace and harmony that resonated in the “flower power” era and is still sung today.
Begun more than 125 years ago as a cocaine-fueled medicinal elixir, Coke eventually morphed into the non-narcotic soda of choice for the baby-boomers who came of age in the 60s. As the company grew it added other flavors and varieties of the original coke. Today the Coca-Cola Company continues to be relevant as the largest soft drink company in the world, expanding its uniquely American taste into the world’s largest emerging markets to become a global brand. That’s called “commercial diplomacy.” So, when you start to hum and eventually sing the words you remember from Coke’s 1971 hit song, know that people around the world are singing it along with you, but in their own language.