Man who wrote iconic Coke jingle 'I'd Like To Teach the World to Sing' has died

Bill Backer, the man who wrote the jingle for Coca-Cola's 1971 "Hilltop" ad, has died.

"I'd Like To Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony)" was the song featured in the ad, which was part of the company's now-named "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" ad.

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The New York Times reported that Backer died Friday at 89 years old in Warrenton, Virginia.

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 Coca-Cola Company wrote a tribute to Backer on its history website.

"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.