'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Clarifies the Finale

Did Don Draper really create that iconic Coke ad?

ByABC News
May 21, 2015, 12:09 PM

— -- Much has been made of the "Mad Men" series finale that aired Sunday night.

However, the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, laid rumors to rest Wednesday night during a discussion with author A.M. Homes at the New York Public Library.

"In the abstract, I did think, why not end this show with the greatest commercial ever made?" he said, in a video posted by the Hollywood Reporter. "In terms of what it means to people and everything, I am, again, not for ambiguity for ambiguity's sake, but it was nice to have your cake and eat it too, in terms of what is advertising, who is Don and what is that thing?"

In the last few moments of the AMC show, Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, is at a commune in northern California, trying to understand who he is. After connecting with another lonely man, played by Evan Arnold, he realizes what he's meant to do and creates the iconic "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" commercial.

"I hope that the audience would feel that he was embracing a part of himself or maybe them," Weiner said of the emotional moment. "That they were heard."

"I did hear rumblings of people talking about the ad being corny and it's a little bit disturbing to me," he added. "Five years before that, black people and white people couldn't even be in an ad together, OK? And the idea that someone in an enlightened state and not just co-option might have created something that is very pure — and yeah, there's soda in there with a good feeling, but that ad to me, it's the best ad ever made, and it comes from a very good place."

Weiner said that he knew at the end of season four how he wanted Don's story to end, and he also knew at that point that Betty was going to die. However, Peggy's relationship with Stan was less obvious to him, as was Joan's new-found career ambitions.

"I didn't even know Joan was a main character until I met Christina Hendricks!" he said. "I definitely didn't think Joan would end up this single-mom feminist, looking for childcare on her own.... I love the fact that it's not philosophical for her. I'm not demeaning the philosophy of feminism, I'm just saying this woman made a practical decision not to take any s*** anymore. ... She biologically loves work."