In October 1979, America discovered that all “Mean” Joe Greene needed after a hard game was a Coke to make him smile. McCann-Erickson’s Clio Award-winning ad “Have a Coke and a Smile” campaign told the heartwarming story of an injured and down-spirited Greene and a kid fan. In the end, grumpy Greene and the ardent fan both share a Coke, and a smile.
I think the people that created it wrote a great commercial that really tells a story … that commerciaL’s kind of what Joe is: tough, football player, who’s a nice guy.
—Tommy Okon, The Kid
Appearing first during Super Bowl XIV in 1980, along with the unforgettable line “Hey Kid, Catch!,” the ad was an instant favorite. The famous line was uttered by a newly smiling Greene as he tossed his Pittsburgh Steelers jersey to then nine-year-old Tommy Okon (the child fan).