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Mean Joe Green needs a super clean jersey in Downey ad

February 5, 2012 |  3:00 pm


It’s one of the most beloved and best-remembered Super Bowl ads of all time: Mean Joe Green and a cute kid share a moment -- and a Coke. Why mess with that lovely little piece of heart-melting marketing from 1980?

Coca-Cola already did a few years ago, with a Coke Zero ad that parodied the Green spot and starred Troy Polamalu.

Now it’s Procter & Gamble’s turn, but the marketer had to first get permission from Coke to tread onto that sacred advertising ground. Coke said yes, according to Adweek, but wouldn’t turn over any of the classic footage. P&G, for its Downey Unstopables fabric freshener, had initially wanted to use archival footage of Green and digitally insert its spokesceleb, comedian and wacky domestic goddess Amy Sedaris.

VIDEO TIMELINE: Best Super Bowl commercials

But Green, who has turned down previous offers to redo that famous role, finally agreed to a remake. The 65-year-old retired Pittsburgh Steelers star appears with Sedaris in a twist on the iconic commercial, appropriately named “Stinky.”

P&G probably made a smart bet with this media buy, which Adweek estimates set the company back about $1 million (versus the average $3.5 million that advertisers paid to be in the game). Talk value on this spot will carry it far beyond its pre-kickoff slot.


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-- T.L. Stanley