FIFA 18’s Hero - AlexHunter Is Also A Coca-Cola Pitchman In Real Life

Sep 25,2017


There is a scene in FIFA 18's story mode that still got me even though i knew what was coming, even though it telegraphs its schmaltzy appeal, even though I can see in my mind the corporate conference room where the idea was born. Alex Hunter, the FIFA 18's hero, lands a  sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola, and so they shoot an advertisement.

The producer sets up the scene. Alex has a tough game. He heard the booing and rejection of the crowd (part of the setup to The Journey: Hunter Returns). He wants to get the hell out of there. And then here comes the Coca-Cola child once again with a red and white can to make it better.

This scene is a tribute to Coca-Cola's swooning Mean Joe Greene ad, which was broadcast in October 1979 and then again when Green's Steelers beated the Rams in Super Bowl XIV. This is one of the top two or three pieces of television advertising in U.S. My first grade was The Empire Strikes Back, The Dukes of Hazzard, and the Mean Joe Green Coca-Cola ad. I'm not kidding. A weary football star (Greene, a Pro Football Hall of Famer) leaves the field, and somehow a moon-faced urchin, played by Tommy Okon, slipped on the slopes behind him, offering Pause That Refreshes for a day of heroic sacrifice.

It was reported that Green had to drink 18 bottles of Coke to make his scene. Alex Hunter gets it down in one take but FIFA 18 did not make the jersey exchange. A selfie has to suffice. It really intimidated me.  Hunter needs to give the child his shirt. That is what gave the original ad its heart-tugging power.

Whether the Frostbite engine can let the players stand out or not, I do not know. (Earlier in the game, the Hunter mentions the trading shirt, a football custom, with cover star Cristiano Ronaldo in a friendly. Ronaldo's jersey later seen in Hunter's apartment, saying that he accepted the offer.)

Coca-Cola is keeping up the ruse by providing cans printed with Hunter’s image on them at 7-Eleven and and Walmart in North America. There is a download code underneath the cans’ labels that offer additional content during The Journey: Hunter Returns. That's really great, but if you're going to go Mean Joe Greene, Coke and EA, you have to go all the way to give the kid the kit.

More news about  FIFA 18 is coming later this week.