Pepsi's Triple-Celeb SBLIII Ad Tackles Its Runner-Up Perception

After three  teaser videos, Pepsi has revealed why Steve Carell, Lil Jon and Cardi B are hanging out in a diner. 

The brand’s now-released 30-second Super Bowl LIII ad (below) directly confronts its historic challenger-brand status, as it tends to play out in real life even today. The spot even comes right out with Coke’s name. 

The set-up: When a woman in a diner orders a Coke, her waiter responds with the oft-heard-in-restaurants question, “Is Pepsi OK?”

That’s when Carell springs into action. Comparing the Pepsi experience to joys like puppies, shooting stars, and the laughter of small children, he vociferously declares that “Pepsi’s more than OK!” Lil Jon chimes in with his trademark “Okaaay,” and Cardi B clinches the diner patron’s conversion by bringing her a Pepsi. 



Millions of people enjoy Pepsi every day, “yet they continue to be asked 'Is Pepsi OK?,'" said Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing, Pepsi. "We felt that it was time to address this question head-on… by unapologetically letting everyone know that Pepsi is way more than OK. With the help of a star-studded lineup, we're taking this concept and playfully flipping it on its head…"

The spot, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, will air in the first quarter. An extended 60-second version is online.

Although PepsiCo’s greater diversity as a company has elevated its stock price significantly above The Coca-Cola Company’s in recent times, when it comes to cola brands, Coke remains top dog.

According to Beverage Digest data, amid the generally declining sales for carbonated sodas, Coke’s market share has grown from 17.3% to 17.8% in the past decade, while Pepsi’s has declined from 10.3% to 8.4%. Analysts have pointed out that Pepsi suffered in recent years as a result of PepsiCo's focus on expanding its portfolio of healthier beverages and snacks, and the brand is now pushing to recoup momentum.

Pepsi previously announced that, for its seventh year as the title sponsor of the Super Bowl half-time show, it’s lined up Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Atlanta native Big Boi. The brand, in its 17th year as the NFL’s official soft drink, is also promising an “unforgettable” 10-second lead-in to the half-time performances.

With Coca-Cola Company's HQ city, Atlanta, hosting this year’s game, PepsiCo is making a statement by draping the city in 350 pieces of outdoor advertising. 

Pepsico is also throwing a “Planet Pepsi” party from an Atlanta venue, featuring Scott in a performance to be live-streamed on iHeartMedia; and presenting the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Award on January 31.

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