By Keith Shelton
GREEN BAY - Bark River native and Green Bay Packers groundskeeper Allen Johnson will be prominently featured in a Super Bowl advertisement that will air during the game Sunday evening.
The Coca-Cola ad "Going All the Way" was shot in Ashwaubenon, Wis. and features a boy on a youth football team who recovers a fumble then runs through the Green Bay suburb before running onto Lambeau Field in Green Bay and spiking the ball in the endzone.
Johnson was reached Friday evening as he was en route to Escanaba for the weekend. He said being in the advertisement that will be viewed by hundreds of millions of people Sunday night wasn't a huge deal for him.
"They had the idea for what they wanted and they wanted a person in it who was a field worker," Johnson said. "They ended up needing me and thought I was good enough to be in the commercial. It was nothing grandiose.
"It was a fairly big production," Johnson added. "It was interesting to be a part of and a fun experience. The whole thing turned out to be pretty cute, but I don't think it's that big of a deal."
The one concern Johnson said he had, was representing the Packers in a positive way.
"The only thing you think, is that you're representing your organization. That was my only concern," he said. "Hopefully people at work and everyone else likes it."
According to Packers Marketing Director Lisa Nortman, the advertisement was spearheaded by Coca-Cola, which contacted the team and asked for assistance in filming at Lambeau Field.
"It was a lengthy process," said Nortman. "We had been working with Coca-Cola since November. They did a casting call for employees and Allen was a part of that. It wasn't just handed over. He had to go through the process."
Nortman said Green Bay Packers players and coaching staff were not an option for the commercial and that Coca-Cola wanted the authenticity of an employee who worked on the field.
"Allen was a good fit and it worked out all around," Nortman said.
Locally, the commerical has already gained some buzz. Johnson is seen in the advertisement on a lawnmower at Lambeau Field before handing the boy a coke. Most of the surrounding cast was made up of Green Bay area residents.
"I've heard from a few people back home that have already heard about it," said Johnson. "It's pretty neat for someone from a small town. People make a big deal out of it, but I don't think it is."
The advertisement can currently be viewed at blog.packers.com or at www.packers. com. Johnson has held the groundskeeper position with the Packers for 17 years. His father Keith Johnson lives in Bark River.