Critical Analysis Of Pepsi Super Bowl Ad Campaign

Pepsi is a recognizable soft drink in the US; the brand has had many rivals for a long time in the soft drink market like Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, etc. Pepsi has had a longstanding reputation for being a global and social industry leader. Pepsi knows that the super bowl is a super important time for them to grab consumers’ attention since it’s a day where people come together, and they’re enjoying snacks and beverages really as a part of their experience. In this year’s 2019 super bowl, Pepsi wanted to step up their game and do it in a fun Pepsi way that really highlights and celebrates how great Pepsi is. Pepsi has recently partnered with celebrities and tv networks that are popular in order to create commercials that will improve their relationship with its audience by mostly targeting the younger generation.

With its Super Bowl ad campaign this year, Pepsi hopes to challenge the notion of even asking whether Pepsi is an acceptable substitute for Coke by reminding viewers that, for many cola drinkers, it is, in fact, their preferred choice. The 30-second spot stars Steve Carell going a bit furious when a woman in the booth next to him, orders a Coke and the waiter asks, “Is Pepsi OK?” That is, of course, an oft-repeated line in soda-serving venues and it has been for a long time. In which, Pepsi is now using the ad to fight back. Carell then starts saying “Are puppies OK?”, “Is a shooting star OK?”, “Is the laughter of a small child OK?”, and then says, “Pepsi is more than OK,” before tossing it to Lil Jon, who delivers his popular signature “okayyy” catchphrase. Then Cardi B storms in the diner, while her popular song “I like it” is playing, claps her hands, laughs and snatches a bedazzled can of Pepsi from the counter and delivers her own signature “Okurrr!”. She then seats herself in the booth next to the customer as she’s smiling at her and tapping the can with her long blue and white nails. Carell then confirms that both the waiter and the customer have learned that they want a Pepsi now. Carell attempts Cardi B’s trilling “okurrr,” sounding more like Chewbacca than the Grammy-winning songstress.

This commercial was quite creative at catching the attention of the viewers through many film elements. The one prop that definitely stood out throughout the commercial was the bedazzled Pepsi not only did it make it stand out, but it actually has never been done before. The director clearly wanted to make their soda can unique and make it hard for their viewers to forget because of its shiny diamonds all over it. Another eye-catching element of the I Like It rapper's ensemble is her sparkling nails, which first come into focus when she picks up a can of Pepsi from a counter. The detail that went into her nails, the diamonds matched with the Pepsi can. The setting also played a big role because it’s your typical 80’s diner where it would most likely have a waiter ask the oft-repeated line, “is Pepsi ok?”. Also, the most iconic song that everyone knows her for is “I Like It” which is the non-diegetic sound that’s added as her huge entrance into the diner to make the viewers have all their attention to the queen of rap.

The covert message that was not easily realized and underneath the surface was what they meant by the phrases “Pepsi is more than OK” and the repetitive phrase that was used “is Pepsi OK?”. They stick with it because it’s an often-asked question that happens in real life a lot. The director instead embraced it and flipped it by playing it off cool and used it as an opportunity to talk the beverage up. It also refers to the widely held opinion that Coke is, well, much better. The situation is relatable. How many times have you asked for a Coke, but were asked, “Is Pepsi okay?” It usually is. The problem is many substitute “Coke” for a brown soda. Kind of like how you call tissues “Kleenex” even though any tissue brand will do in an emergency.

The commercial mostly used pathos to convey its message. It appeals to pathos because of how the commercial impacted humor to win over the audience. Having the word “OK” in mind led Pepsi to Cardi B and Lil Jon, both of whom are famous for the way they say the word. The team landed on Carell because they felt he could be strong and funny at the same time to talk about how great Pepsi is. In most, not all Lil Jon songs, you’ll hear him yell, “OKAAAY!” and Cardi B’s equally idol version goes a little something like, “Okurrr!” which she actually got her favorite catchphrase from the Kardashians. Lastly, but not least they used the iconic Steve Carell from “The Office” or “Mr. Bean” who everyone knows is really funny and can easily flip anything hilarious, even when it gets awkward.

The commercial also used ethos throughout the ad because they used celebrities to advertise their product. By using Cardi B, Steve Carell, and Lil Jon it will make their fans and other people want to buy the product because if the celebrity likes it, then the product must be good. Cardi B has become a major hit and has been everywhere this past year and “The Office” keeps continuing to gain popularity, so using these two people who play a major role in the younger generation would help Pepsi accomplish their goal to sell their products since it’s known that younger kids, teens and college students all love soda. Pepsi is trying to target them the most through these popular celebrities because celebrities are excellent for grabbing people’s attention and a commercial is more memorable because of a famous face on the screen.

Overall, the directors of Pepsi created an interesting yet funny commercial. Pepsi is trying to stand out now because they always seem to be in second place with Coca-Cola, however, it’s clear that they want to change that now. They did a great job at proving that “Pepsi is more than OK” by making the appearance of the celebrities. I also think it’s smart that they’re trying to target more of the younger generation because first of all, they are the new generation, second Cardi B is what everyone is listening to and just, in general, all these other celebrities are what’s trending, so of course, anyone would want to watch. In short, I should just say that Pepsi is more than “OKUUUR,” because that’s how Cardi B famously puts it.

01 February 2021
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