30 Years Later, Mean Joe Greene Still Gives Franny Goose Bumps

December 18, 2009


In the last 12 years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with some pretty cool celebrities and athletes, but recently I got to meet my favorite NFL player as a kid.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the famous – and beloved – Coca-Cola commercial starring “Mean” Joe Greene. In the spot, an injured Joe hobbles down a stadium tunnel toward the locker room, with little Tommy Okon in tow. After Tommy gave his football hero a bottle of Coke, Joe tossed his coveted #75 jersey to the kid. Cue the music, Joe drinks the Coke and we all get goose bumps.

Joe and Tommy each won Clio awards  in 1980 for their work, but neither was able to attend the ceremony. Fast forward 30 years – Coca-Cola secured the trophies and wanted to present them to the guys in a special way. On Nov. 15, I joined a couple of fantastic Coke clients at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (before the disastrous Steelers/Bengals game) where Bea Perez (Coke) and Art Rooney (Steelers) presented the shiny Clios to Joe and Tom in a pre-game ceremony.

Check out the video – my favorite part is the audible roar as Rooney hands the award to Joe, despite the stands being only half-full. It was a great moment for everybody involved and one of my favorite projects ever. By the way, I apologize for the shaky footage – I was using my digital camera and my hands are anything but steady.