Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal worked with Pepsi on a series of ads during the height of his playing career in the ‘90s. As the brand continues to celebrate its 125th anniversary, it’s brought Shaq back in a new ad referencing both his past collaborations with the brand and a 1995 hip hop classic.
One theme of Shaq’s past work with Pepsi was the practical difficulties that come with being over seven feet tall, as illustrated in 1994’s “It’s Not Easy Being Big” spot promoting the one-liter Pepsi Big Slam.
Now that the trend of super-sizing beverage sizes has reversed, Pepsi turned to the baller once again to promote its 7.5 ounce Pepsi Mini cans, in “I Wish,” while inverting the message of a classic hip hop line.
“Pepsi and Shaq have a storied history with one another that has inspired a number of the creative elements within this new Pepsi Mini Cans campaign. We were also able to tap into '90s nostalgia with Skee-Lo’s iconic 'I Wish,' while completely reimagining the track for today given the evolution we are seeing in consumer demand for smaller sized packages,” Pepsi CMO Todd Kaplan explained in a statement.
In the original song, Skee Lo raps, “I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller.” In the new spot from Pepsi, Shaq wishes he was a little bit smaller, daydreaming about how a reduced size would make a series of everyday scenarios easier to navigate over a reimagined version of the track performed by Skee Lo.
The spot is already running online, and will make its broadcast debut during select nationally broadcast NBA games on ESPN and TNT on Nov. 22, and also make an appearance during NBC's prime-time Thanksgiving NFL programming on Nov. 23.
In a sweepstakes that began Nov. 20, the brand is calling on fans to post a photo of their favorite meal or snack alongside a Pepsi Mini can and post it to social media channels with the hashtags #BetterWithPepsiMinis and #Sweepstakestagging -- and tagging“@Pepsi” for a chance to win an Official NBA Basketball signed by O’Neal.