Something has been bothering me for quite some time, and it had nothing to do with the Super Bowl.
Coca-Cola's 2009 re-creation of "Mean" Joe Greene's Ad was tasteless and void of humor.
(For those fortunate enough to have missed this sham of an advertisement, you can watch it here .)
We as sports fans tend to glorify places or events from the past. The legends from yesterday are hailed as some of the greatest to ever play the game, and for that they are untouchable in the eyes of many.
The generation who grew up with football in the 1970s and '80s really had something special. At the time, America's love affair with the NFL was in its infancy statges, and that resulted in a genuine appreciation for the game like never before. Iconic players like Dick Butkus were the embodiment of toughness, and were exonerated because of it. Such appreciation of cherished athletes led to endorsement deals, which by many accounts were received with wonder and astonishment.
The crown jewel of such advertisements came on September 1st, 1979, when the Coca-Cola company released The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid . The commerical found instant success and popularity, and was even adapted into a made for television movie.
Now fastforward to 2009. The Steelers are in the Super Bowl and the geniuses over at Coca-Cola decide to remake their commercial once again - this time substituting new Steelers' icon Troy Polamalu in Greene's place. The idea of recreating such a genuine cinematic moment is thrilling. A new generation of football fans finally gets to experience what their parents and relatives held so dear.
After a 12 second teaser of what the commerical should have been, Coke employed their 'comedy team' (and I use that term lightly) of the Coke brand managers. They proceed to steal the bottle and run away only to be speared by Polamalu. Troy drinks the beverage, rips of the man's shirt off with one hand, and tosses the shirt to the kid in a fashion similar to that used almost 30 years ago.
How dare they.
Is nothing sacred anymore? I understand physical comedy and dancing monkeys are the call of the day, but this took it way too far. Those two obscure advertising lackeys interrupted something that could have transcended television and lasted for another 30 years. I was shocked the industry could have fallen so low.
Coca-Cola had a chance to give a new generation of fans something special. Instead, they mocked a cherished piece of history and cheapened one of the greatest commercials of all time.
Shame on you Coke. I'm drinking Pepsi now and for the rest of my life.