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PepsiCo’s Star-Studded Commercials

‘Stars’ of stage, screen and music videos have made many enduring contributions to PepsiCo’s brand communication campaigns.

Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson and Michael J. Fox are just some of the famed personalities that have been featured in celebratory PepsiCo commercials that have regaled viewers of all ages.

The continued investment in the brand equity of ‘Star’ appearances has generated rewarding returns of some highly memorable, foot-tapping commercials from an impressive line-up of the famed and talented, and a global audience of online, ‘fanship’ viewing.

PepsiCo and The Super Bowl                     

Most of the PepsiCo commercials featured below were scheduled for release during the American Super Bowl, the annual football championships, that average 110 million plus TV viewers each year.

Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian, author and renowned international public speaker on advertising communication, recently commented on his blog, that his general impression of Super Bowl campaigns are that finding a celebrity for a commercial is much easier than finding an idea.

He may have a point, but for me the positive upside is that single-minded ‘idea’ behind the PepsiCo commercials as family entertainment at its brand-affinity, star-struck best. On that score, they inarguably succeed in being most things to most people while enhancing the international stature of their brands.

1. PepsiCo Doritos Cool Ranch, Bassquake

Advertising Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, USA

Directed by Lance Acord, the 2020 Doritos Super Bowl commercial features Hollywood actor Sam Elliott, and American rapper, hip-hop artist, singer and songwriter, Lil Nas X.

The depicted dance battle is an amusing parody of a classic ‘Western Standoff’. The soundtrack is inspired by Li Nas X’s Billboard-topping single, “Old Town Road”.

The commercial also features a surprise cameo appearance by American singer-songwriter and actor, Billy Ray Cyrus.

2. PepsiCo, Doritos Blaze Versus Mountain Dew Ice

Advertising Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, USA

PepsiCo’s enterprising initiative to promote two PepsiCo brands, back-to- back in one commercial, was launched during the live TV broadcast of the 2018 Super Bowl football championships with calculated daring and some trepidation.

But with the skillful direction of American-Australian filmmaker Nabil Elderkin, and the formidable acting talents of Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, nothing could possibly go wrong.

And so it proved to be. With Peter Dinklage rapping to Buster Rhymes’ “Look At Me Know” and representing Doritos Blaze, versus Morgan Freeman rapping to Miss Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On” and representing Mountain Dew Ice, the dueling encounter motivated more than 10 million views online.

According to the ad-analytics company iSpotTV, it was the most shared commercial on social media in 2018.

3. PepsiCo, Close Pepsi Encounter

Advertising Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, USA

Directed by Henry Hobson, the sci-fi parody of a memorable alien encounter features globally renowned Hollywood actor William H. Macy.

The soundtrack was specifically composed for the commercial by Human Worldwide Studios in New York, USA.

4. PepsiCo, Pepsi MAX No Can Left Behind

Advertising Agency: Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO

Directed by Taika Waititi, the Pepsi MAX commercial stars American actor, comedian, screenwriter and producer Paul Rudd, and American movie actor and musician Michael Antony Peña.

The amusingly dramatic antics of Paul and Michael in their roles as astronauts are highly watchable.

5. PepsiCo, King’s Court Respect

Advertising Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles, USA

The Super Bowl Pepsi extravaganza stars Sir Elton John and ‘X Factor USA’ winner Melanie Amaro, who delivers a rousing rendition of the Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin song “Respect”.

Directed by Noam Murro, the commercial is a filmic, supercilious fantasy, that is light-hearted fun from the beginning to the end with a surprise cameo appearance of American musician and rapper ‘Flavor Fav’.

6. PepsiCo, Pepsi Gladiators

Advertising Agency: BBDO, Paris, France

Launched during the live broadcast of the American Super Bowl football championships of 2004, the epic Gladiator spoof, hit all the right notes and took a 100 million plus TV viewers by storm.

Britney Spears, Pink and Beyoncé, turned Queen’s, Grammy Hall of Fame hit song ‘We Will Rock You’, into an unforgettable anthem of girl power.

Directed by Tarsem Singh and filmed at the Coliseum in Rome, the commercial also amusingly stars Enrique Iglesias as a villainous Roman Emperor.

7. PepsiCo, Beyoncé Mirrors Pepsi Max Feat

Advertising Agency: 180, Los Angeles, USA

Directed by Jake Nava, the ‘Mirrors’ commercial is a breathtaking ‘reflection’ of Beyoncé’s remarkable performing talents.

She accomplishes her multi-persona feat to the soundtrack of her resonant singles release, “Grown Women”.

8. PepsiCo, Britney Spears’ Joy of Pepsi

Advertising Agency: BBDO, New York, USA

Directed by Joe Pytka, this iconic Super Bowl commercial still enjoys YouTube downloads by the millions of Britney Spears fans across the world.

Having viewed the commercial periodically, its vibrancy is remarkably undiminished, and it does not surprise me at all that its popularity is so enduring.