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Greene will finally get award for classic ad


By Teresa Varley  

As a part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Joe Greene Coke Commercial, the former Steelers great and Hall of Famer will finally receive the Clio Award that the commercial won years ago. The award will be presented to Greene when the Steelers play the Bengals on Nov. 15.

Greene's classic ad, where he tosses his jersey to a kid who gave him a Coke, won the advertising award back in 1979, but Greene never received it. Instead he will be presented the award in a pregame ceremony at Heinz Field.

Greene and Tom Okon, the kid who he tossed the jersey to, will be on hand for the presentation.
The "Have a Coke and a Smile" commercial features Greene coming down a stadium tunnel in pain on game day, and the young boy offers him help first, and then his Coke.
Greene declines at first, and then accepts. And then the moment that made the ad, when Greene takes the Coke, downs it, and as the young boy is walking away slightly dejected, Greene tosses him his jersey, as the youngster simply replies, "Wow…thanks Mean Joe."

"We had a lot of takes," said Greene. "There were a lot of parts. It was two and a half days. I was drinking the Coke. I drank a couple of cases for sure. I knew I drank an awful lot because I belched between my lines a couple of times."
The ad was a hit from the time it first aired, until today, even though it will no longer be in the running for the top Super Bowl ad ever on a yearly show.
"I had no idea it would be that popular," said Greene. "Over the years they would show the commercial over and over. They did retire the commercial last year on that show. We won't see it again."
Greene said after the ad first aired he would have people approach him, sometimes recognizing him first as a football player, while others knew him from the ad.
"That used to happen quite frequently," said Greene. "They recognized me as the guy who did the commercial. They would say the football player who did the commercial. There were people who recognized me as the guy in the Coca Cola commercial first and then the football player."

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