Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 4

It’s The Unreal Thing

'85 CM Coke

On April 23, 1985, Coca Cola did the unthinkable: they announced that they were reformulating their soft drink, “spawning consumer angst the likes of which no business has ever seen”.

The night before they invited Ray Charles at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta (Robert Winship Woodruff was the president of The Coca-Cola Company from 1923 until 1954).

Brother Ray was possibly introduced as a ‘friend of the brand’ – the guy who had given Coke the fabulous Things Go Better With Coca Cola radio and TV commercials in the late 1960s.

It’s unclear if this was a public event, or an internal party for Coca Cola employees or marketers. In imperfect harmony with an as yet unidentified* lady singer, Ray performed a questionably weak symphonic version (with a huge choir) of It’s The Real Thing, the Coke campaign’s theme song in the mid ’80s.

Who knows more about what happened that evening?

* Is it Yolanda Adams?


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