Pepsi Max remakes classic Pepsi diner spot with a modern twist

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Jul 19 2010

Ask the average corporate exec to comment about a rival and you'll usually get a blanket statement like, "We don't comment on competitors." But those same upper-management types, it seems, have no trouble putting their rank-and-file employees on the firing line, at least in advertising. Aside from the long-running Verizon-Comcast spat, which features a feckless cable guy squaring off against an obnoxious FiOS rep, there's the on-again, off-again rivalry between the guys who drive trucks for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. In this latest campaign for Pepsi Max from TBWA\Chiat\Day—an update of a famous 1995 Super Bowl ad by BBDO (with the original Pepsi guy now playing the diner cook)—a Pepsi rep persuades his competitor to try the drink. As the Coke driver admires Pepsi Max's no-calorie sweetness, the Pepsi guy snaps a quick video and uploads it to YouTube. A brawl ensues, but when the dust clears, it's hard not to sympathize with the Coke guy, who may (in the story, at least) lose his job. On the other hand, perhaps Pepsi research has identified a weasel-ish psychographic that responds well to betraying overtures to friendship.

Jay Leno and Pepsi team up to make Detroit laugh for a change

Posted on Tue Mar 10 2009

Leno

Late-night veteran and soon-to-be prime-time star Jay Leno is responding to the national call to give back to the community with "Jay's Comedy Stimulus Plan," a free show he'll do for jobless folks in Detroit next month. The brand-friendly comedian will have Pepsi by his side, too. (The company advertises on The Tonight Show.) Leno said Tuesday morning on The View that he approached the soda behemoth about the sponsorship, though it was probably just a matter of time until the marketer made the move. Could there be a more perfect match between such a feel-good event and the pie-eyed optimism of Pepsi's current (South Park-parodied) ad campaign?
  Leno chose Detroit because it has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country (upwards of 11 percent), and he's a life-long car buff. Plus, he said, he has no other marketable skills in this hobbled economic climate. Might as well tell jokes, and it's a good bet the auto industry, which has laid off so many people in the area, won't go unscathed. The show will take place April 7 at The Palace, home of the Detroit Pistons, with Pepsi subsidizing refreshments and free parking. Goodwill all around!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

'South Park' takes the piss out of Pepsi with its own giddy spots

Posted on Mon Mar 9 2009

Sp-promos

The candy-colored Pepsi campaign was ripe for parody, and who better to do so than the kids of South Park? Comedy Central is airing a series of South Park promos that look just like the relentlessly peppy "Refresh everything" Pepsi commercial. Check out several of the promos here. Promoting the upcoming 13th season of South Park, they enliven Pepsi's transparent marketing message with disembodied heads and catch phrases (and sometimes gibberish) from the network's most-watched show. They're clearly having fun at the expense of the peace-and-love Pepsi vibe, as Cartman spouts his infamous "Screw you guys, I'm going home" and also offers up the lesser-known but still brilliant "Oh my Jesus Christ monkey balls." Sweeeet.
  The spots came from Comedy Central's in-house team of writer/producer Sarah Jackson, broadcast designer Dana Kinlaw, and director of on-air creative Jeffrey Blackman. South Park, no stranger to skewering well-known brands (and world leaders, celebrities, God, mom, apple pie, etc., etc.), kicks off its new season on Wednesday.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Coke, not Pepsi, reportedly the choice of Obama administration

Posted on Fri Feb 27 2009

Obama-soda

Pepsi is the one that's gone ga-ga for Barack Obama, with its similar logo and call for a refreshed and renewed America. But according to Time magazine's White House correspondent, Michael Scherer, who has his finger on the pulse, it's Coke, not Pepsi, that's the choice of this new administration.
  Obama himself doesn't care much for either beverage. (He prefers Honest Tea, apparently.) But as Scherer reports, his advisers tend to prefer Coke. "Several senior Administration officials are committed cola drinkers, and without fail they spend their days sipping from a can of Diet Coke, a product of Pepsi's chief competitor, Coca-Cola," Scherer writes. Devotees include Larry Summers, Obama's top economic adviser, who "rarely walks anywhere in the White House complex without a can of Diet Coke in his hand. He is well known for interrupting conversations to take another swig."
  Scherer asked another White House official, who had a can of Diet Coke on his desk, whether the Obama administration had a clear bias for Coke over Pepsi. The official, who was granted anonymity, perhaps because he wasn't authorized to discuss such a sensitive topic in public, replied, "I think that's true. Don't most Americans?"

—Posted by Tim Nudd

Anyone else want to try out a red, white and blue circular logo?

Posted on Thu Feb 5 2009

Fourlogos copy

Perhaps Pepsi didn't rip off the Obama logo after all. Korean Air, established in the 1970s, has its own Pepsi-ish logo, a play on the lovely and balanced red-and-blue circle on the South Korean flag. Pepsi's latest campaign brought forth a new uber-shiny and more lopsided version of the logo developed and redeveloped since the 1950s (umm, check out the Studebaker motor company symbol, too). Actually, the new Pepsi logo looks less like the Korean Air mark than the old Pepsi logo did. Thanks, Pepsi. Now, when I take a sip, I won't worry that I'm being whisked off to Asia.

—Posted by Yana Polikarpov

The best ad agency in New York is owned by Lorne Michaels

Posted on Mon Feb 2 2009

From the ad agency that brought you Shirt in a Can, Swill and Schmitt's Gay, we now have PepSuber. The agency, of course, is staffed by the comedy writers of Saturday Night Live. SNL has been making fun of advertisers for decades with products like Oops, I Crapped my Pants (take that, Depends) and Uncle Jemima's Pure Mash Liquor (here's a big list of SNL ad parodies in alphabetical order). It was only a matter of time until an SNL-inspired parody made its way into the Super Bowl with this MacGruber ad. The ad is part of a series of three sketches. The other two, here and here, deal with blatant product placement in shows. In one, MacGruber says nothing but "Pepsi" over and over again. While the campaign isn't likely to make any top-10 lists, it may have endeared the brand to the new generation of kids who discovered a newly reinvigorated SNL during the election season and don't like advertising very much. In other words, it helps the No. 2 cola continue to be Coke's hipper, younger brother.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Maybe brands shouldn't be quite so excited about Obama

Posted on Fri Jan 16 2009

Brand-obama copy

Red, white and blue donuts at Dunkin' Donuts. Limited-edition inaugural collector's packs of nuts from Planters. "Yes Pecan" ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. These are just a few examples of brands attempting to latch onto Obama-mania. Indeed, a good part of the country is ready for a change and jazzed for the inauguration. Pepsi, T.G.I. Friday's and Ikea certainly are.
  But the reality is, 43 percent of voters didn't want Obama as the next president (not to mention many people who didn't vote), and lots of them won't be celebrating on Jan. 20. One person recently said to me: "Let's hope he doesn't screw it up too bad during his four years so we can get a Republican back in office." This person, and many like him, still bitter about the election and the country about to be ruled by Democrats, are not going to want to celebrate with some inauguration-day trail mix and a can of Pepsi.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

PepsiCo products suddenly become a whole lot harder to spot

Posted on Thu Jan 8 2009

Tropicana-125 copy

A trip to the grocery store can be confusing these days for anyone looking for Pepsi, Gatorade or Tropicana. Each of those PepsiCo products has been radically repackaged within the same month.
  The idea is to give the sluggish beverage segment a boost. Today, Tropicana announced its new packaging and ad campaign. (I'm a fan of the new look, considering the last time they repackaged the brand, the gallon jugs looked so much like laundry detergent that I accidentally placed one next to my washing machine.) Pepsi is now almost unrecognizable with its new, sleek, dark-blue packaging and Obama logo—introduced with ads on New Year's Eve. And Gatorade is now just "G." Not that they're letting anyone know this. Teaser ads, featuring a variety of athletes (hats off for including autistic basketball star Jason McElwain), make no mention of what G is.
  Fans of Gatorade line extensions Fierce, X-Factor and AM will be scratching their heads even harder. Those brands have been renamed Bring It, Be Tough and Shine On, respectively. Not sure how they'll explain that to the kid searching aimlessly for his Fierce Grape.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein


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