World’s best ads ever #58: ‘Mean’ Joe Greene shows his friendlier side for Coca-Cola
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
Pittsburgh Steeler ‘Mean’ Joe Greene wasn’t one to mess with. He was central to the infamous Steel Curtain defense and feared by opposing offenses. However, his all-NFL career wasn’t enough to grant him true fame. No, that came in the form of a Coke ad in 1979.
In the ad, which was created by McCann-Erickson, a tired, beaten up and grumpy Greene exits the playing field. A young boy asks if he needs any help and lets him know he is the best ever. The insistent kid convinces him to have a Coke, which results in a smile. Enter the ‘Have a Coke and a Smile’ jingle. Finally, Greene throws his jersey to the adoring fan as a keepsake.
Greene would go on to say how the ad changed his life. Strangers on the street gave him sodas. Fans surged passed other hall of famers to get his autograph on a Coke bottle. And, all told, the world found out Joe wasn’t such a mean guy after all.
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