It was Backer who persuaded Coca-Cola to create a video ad after the president considered the song to be too sappy; Coke bottlers also rejected the song.
"The product itself is a product that brings people together," he told Slate of the ad in 2015. "It was a simple observation of the product performing one of the functions it does so well: It's a social catalyst."
"The advertising industry lost one of its giants," wrote Ted Ryan, director of heritage communications at The Coca-Cola Company. "The Coca-Cola Company lost one of its advertising leaders. And I feel like I’ve lost a friend and mentor."
Backer is survived by his wife, Ann. The public can express condolences here.