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1979: “Mean” Joe Greene stars in iconic Coca-Cola commercial

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.

Today we feature Coca-Cola’s 1979 commercial starring Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene as our marketing moment.

The ad, which today is still considered one of the most iconic commercials of all time, features a timid and awkward young boy who approaches Greene after a game to tell him that he thinks he is the “best ever.”

Greene is uninterested in speaking with the young fan, but after the boy offers him a Coke, Greene proceeds to drink the entire bottle. While the dejected boy walks away, Greene says “hey kid, catch!” and throws his jersey to him.

The ad, which was created by McCann-Erickson, helped Greene soften his “tough-guy image,” according to Coke. The commercial has won both a Clio and a Cannes Gold Lion.

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book.

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