Hey Kid, Catch!
|Client||The Coca-Cola Company|
|Running time||1 minute|
|Release date(s)||October 1, 1979|
|Directed by||Roger Mosconi|
|Music by||"Coke and a Smile"|
"Hey Kid, Catch!" is a television advertisement for Coca-Cola starring Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle "Mean" Joe Greene, which debuted on October 1, 1979, and was aired again several times, most notably during Super Bowl XIV in 1980. The 60-second commercial won a Clio Award for being one of the best television commercials of 1979.
Officially titled "Mean Joe Greene" by McCann Erickson, the advertising agency that created the commercial (which was part of the "Have a Coke and a Smile" ad campaign), the set-up and payoff is classic simple advertising: Following a football game, a child (Tommy Okon) offers an injured Greene a Coke, prompting "Mean" Joe to grab the bottle and guzzle the entire contents, before turning to limp away. He then turns back toward the now-crestfallen child, smiles and tosses the kid his team jersey with the now-famous line, "Hey kid, catch!". The commercial was listed as one of the top ten commercials of all time by multiple sources, including TV Guide magazine. The ad was also shown in many other countries (including the UK), where Greene was not even well known.
The campaign's art director was Roger Mosconi, the writer was Penny Hawkey, and the singers of the "Coke and a Smile" jingle were Jim Campbell, Don Thomas, Liz Corrigan, Shellie Littman, Arlene Martell, and Linda November. The footage was shot in May 1979 at a small stadium in Mount Vernon, New York, and the commercial was released on October 1, 1979, on ABC's Monday Night Football, though its airing during the 1980 Super Bowl brought it the most attention due to the program's enormous audience.
Greene later recalled that in filming the commercial, it took several takes to get his final line in the commercial in without burping. "Between me belching and going to the men's room, it took three days to film it," Greene recalled.
In popular culture
- In 1999, a Checkers and Rally's commercial parodied this commercial, with the Coke bottle replaced by a Champ burger.
- During Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, Coca-Cola aired a parody of the commercial to promote its Coca-Cola Zero brand which featured former Steelers player Troy Polamalu in Greene's role. After Polamalu is given a Coke Zero by a child, the Coke Zero is taken away by Coca-Cola brand managers who claim Coke Zero stole their commercial, resulting in Polamalu tackling one of the brand managers and giving the child his shirt.
- An advertisement for the Fox television drama series House, first aired during the 2011 Super Bowl XLV, parodies the original commercial with a similar scene in which Dr. Gregory House, played by Hugh Laurie, throws his cane to a young fan played by Preston Bailey.
- Greene and Tommy Okon reunited at Apogee Stadium (formerly known as "Mean Green Stadium") for a 2016 special retrospective on Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials, which aired on February 2 (five days prior to Super Bowl 50).
- In the 1980's Sesame Street did a version of the commercial.
- In Family Guy, Peter Griffin takes the role of the boy in the commercial, not only getting Green's jersey but the rest of his clothes.
- "The 10 Best Award-Winning TV Ads Everyone Must See". Business Insider. January 18, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
- Coca-Cola Classic ad: Mean Joe Greene [Full Version] (1979). YouTube. July 17, 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
- Isaacs, Stan (December 17, 1979). "Mean Joe: Goliath plays Othello". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- "Singers' Seminar explores steps to success" (pdf). AFTRA. New York. Fall 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
At the request of the singers in the audience, Arlene sang "A Coke and a Smile", a classic jingle with Mean Joe Green which has played every year for a decade on Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials, and in 2009 was voted into the Super Bowl Hall of Fame. Singers on the commercial are Jim Campbell, Don Thomas, Liz Corrigan, Shellie Littman, Arlene Martell, and Linda November
- Fowler, Scott (March 1, 1992). "Mean Joe Greene's biggest hit was also his most memorable 'catch'". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
- 11-22-1999 WTOL Late Night Commercials. YouTube. May 12, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
- Hinds, Julie (February 2, 2009). "Super Bowl ads deliver big laughs". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- "Coke to reprise 'Mean Joe' commercial for Super Bowl". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- "Former Seaside boy set to appear in Super Bowl commercial Sunday". The Daily Astorian. Astoria, Oregon. February 4, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- "'Mean' Joe Greene Reunites With Coca-Cola Kid 40 Years Later". GlenBeck.com. January 28, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2016.