Coca-Cola’s iconic Tremendous Bowl business with “Imply” Joe Greene took days to movie, and for that silly cause

You’re trying to chug a whole Coca-Cola without burping.

Coca-Cola’s iconic 1980 Super Bowl commercial featuring “Mean” Joe Greene, the then defensive device of the Pittsburgh Steelers, may well be one of the most memorable ads ever to air during the Big Game. But the commercial – officially titled “Hey Kid, Catch!” – wasn’t too much gas for filming.

“Mean” Joe Greene, a longtime Pittsburgh Steelers defender and the star of Coca-Cola’s 1980 Super Bowl commercial, once said that drinking all those bottles of Coke was a (predictable) problem for him.
(Ross Lewis / Getty Images)

Greene himself admitted this in a 1992 interview where he claimed he drank 24 colas in a day of shooting and completed each bottle in just a few sips.

“It took three days between me burping and entering the men’s room to film it,” joked Greene in a statement shared with the Baltimore Sun. (Coca-Cola says bad weather also played a role in extending the shoot, although the company admitted Greene had “problems” getting his lines out after drinking the 16-ounce Coke.)

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According to Coca-Cola, the Clio award-winning commercial was also responsible for reshaping Greene’s previously intimidating “public figure”. In it Greene first rejects a child (Tommy Okon) who offers him a Coke after a game, only to think about chugging the Coke and offering the boy his jersey.

“Small children were no longer afraid of me, and older people – both women and men – came and offered me a Coke,” Greene once recalled, recalling the impact of the commercial at a Coca-Cola event.

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As strange as it may seem, “Hey Kid, Catch!” debuted not even during the Super Bowl, but during the 1979 MLB playoffs, before re-airing months later during Super Bowl XIV. Even stranger, according to Coca-Cola, was almost an entirely different NFL professional.

McCann Erickson, the advertising agency that came up with the idea for the commercial, also considered Tony Dorsett, Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach. However, Greene is thrilled that he was ultimately selected for the role.

“Apart from football, it has been my whole life,” he said.

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