'Uncle Drew,' Pepsi's YouTube Sensation, Becomes TV Spot

“Uncle Drew,” a video produced by Davie Brown Entertainment for Pepsi Max, became a sensation when it debuted on YouTube in May. Now, the brand has turned the 5-minute video into a 30-second TV spot.

In fact, the ad -- which is basically a trailer for the video -- debuted during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and will make another appearance during Games 2 and 3. Ad Age reports that the “Uncle Drew” success has prompted Pepsi Max to do a home page takeover on ESPN.com this Saturday. 

Pepsi spokesman Sam Duboff tells the trade pub that a 30-second TV spot wasn’t in the cards when the brand initially uploaded the video two days after Kyrie Irving, who stars in the video, received the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year award. “Once we started looking at the metrics, it became clear that we couldn’t miss the opportunity to bring Uncle Drew to the sport’s biggest stage.” 

The video features Irving disguised as an elderly man named “Uncle Drew” who attends his nephew’s basketball game. When one of the players leaves the court with an injury, Uncle Drew steps in. He starts off slowly but soon wows the crowd with amazing moves, shots and dunks, all while trash talking his opponents. 

Since being posted to YouTube on May 18, “Uncle Drew” has garnered more than 10 million views and over 10,000 tweets using the hashtag #uncledrew. Duboff reports that 80 percent of viewers are still watching at the four-minute mark. 

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