It's generally regarded as one of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials ever aired. Pittsburgh Steeler Charles Edward "Mean Joe" Greene is coming off the field after apparently sustaining an injury when he is met by a young fan who offers him a Coca-Cola to help ease his pain. The gruff defensive lineman declines at first, but ultimately accepts, and tosses the boy his sweaty jersey in gratitude for the caffeine refreshment. "Hey, kid. Catch!" says the Steeler. "Wow, thanks, Mean Joe," responds the stunned child.
Fast forward thirty years and Coke has given the world an updated version of the commercial, featuring latter-day Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu and a child actor who bears a strong resemblance to the original one. Only in this version, it's new Coke Zero that is exchanged, only to be intercepted by the beverage company's brand managers. The star safety runs after the interlopers, takes one of them down and recovers the Coke Zero before pulling off (literally) the grand finale: tearing the dress shirt from the body of the tackled man and tossing it to the waiting child.
Is it a sad sign of the current generation that the 2009 sports fan doesn't say thank you as the child in the 1979 commercial does? Sadly missing too, is the original song lyric: "
That's the way it should be, what I'd like to see...the whole world smiling with me," replaced with "Coke Zer-oh adds life, have a Coke Zer-oh and a... smile."
This new ad gets a 10 for cleverness, but a Zero for manners. Thanks anyway, Coca-Cola, but we'll stick with the original. (See both ads below and let us know which one you prefer.)
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