Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Billy Davis Jr ( Part 3)

 Recording and Advertising Executive Extraordinaire.



               He was one of the key architects in the development of the soul music we so love today!

The second stage of his creative career made him a very important figure in the advertising industry around the globe. On the strength of the gold record “Rescue Me” and other major hit records on Chess, Billy caught the attention of the McCann-Erickson advertising agency in New York. They made him an offer he could not refuse and so in 1969 the agency hired him as jingles songwriter. Davis first major assignment at the agency was to help Coca-Cola develop an international brand across all the markets where the company was trading, based on the old advertising campaign slogan “It’s the Real Thing”.
Davis was assigned to create several songs with songwriter Roger Cook and creative director Billy Backer, who was responsible for The Coca-Cola Company account. The actual recording session occurred in London, England, with the New Seekers, a British recording group. Out of the studio session a song was born that would impact people around the global for generations and established Coca-Cola as a major leader in the soft drink market for a long period. The song was titled “I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke and Keep it Company”.

With his creative skills, he was able plant into people’s subconscious minds a song that was easy to remember and enjoyable to listen to, with a special appeal to young people, which helped to increase sales levels for Coca-Cola international. The basic message of the ad was that Coca-Cola had a strong bond helping people to connect to each other regardless of race or colour. 
 The advertising campaign became so successful that it appeared in a variety of languages to match the ever-increasing global demand. Davis rewrote the song as “I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)”, as recorded by the Hillside Singers and the New Seekers. The single version performed by the New Seekers entered the American Pop chart in the top ten listing and achieved platinum level sales for over two million plus copies sold. According to many surveys conducted in the  United States, this commercial was the best of all time and the sheet music continues to sell thirty years after it was originally recorded and written.

Other successful jingles followed: “It's The Real Thing”, “Have a Coke and a Smile”, “Coke Is It” and “Things Go Better with Coke”. Other ads were created for Nescafé, Miller Beers, Sony and Nabisco. The Miller Beers’ popular jingle was; “If You’ve Got the Time”, which was also a successful advertising campaign in North America.
Before Davis retired from the advertising industry, he achieved the position of senior vice-president and musical director at McCann-Erickson and became one of the most successful black executives in the world of advertising. Davis’s song writing approach to jingles, completely revolutionized the advertising industry and brought products into our subconscious minds, creating brand images that spread globally regardless of race and culture. Billy Davis stated in an interview published in the Detroit Free Press on 24th April 1983:
            “Using music in a commercial is a great aid to recall. It will help you remember the commercial and the product. Music allows you to add emotional content.”
                          Researched and compiled by
                          Mr K Tomlin Music Historian  

                          ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline 2013

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About Me

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Old Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom
Kevin Tomlin has over 34 years of teaching experience in Jamaica, England and America, including 15 years teaching music history of black origin and visual art in South Florida, U.S.A., through Arts in Education. Tomlin created special training programmes and workshops for music teachers in South Florida schools, using music history as the foundation, to build exciting programmes of study and support materials for education professionals. Since 2000, he’s taught music history, geography, religious education, history, visual arts and performing arts at schools in Hertfordshire and Essex, at both primary and secondary levels. He conducts research and provides consultancy services for multi-media organisations, schools, recording artists, cultural and faith-based groups and entertainment professionals.

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