1979: Mean Joe Greene Sells Coke With His Sweaty Football Jersey

By Jacob Shelton

"Hey kid, catch." Those immortal words changed Mean Joe Greene from a bruising, merciless defensive tackle to an international super star and Coca-Cola spokesman. Thanks to this classic commercial, Greene was known worldwide by people who didn't even watch football. Instantly recognizable and seriously heartwarming, this commercial still brings a tear to our eye, it's just that powerful. The ad, which debuted on October 1, 1979 and aired during Super Bowl XIV, isn't just popular because it has a bunch of Coca-Cola money pumped into it. This early viral sensation uses storytelling and the idea that it is okay to meet your heroes to inspire viewers to buy the world a Coke. Here's how it came to be, and what it changed about the landscape of advertising.