Pepsi’s Todd Kaplan breaks down the new Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl ads, interview

Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl ads featuring Ben Stiller and Steve Martin, photo provided by Pepsi
Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl ads featuring Ben Stiller and Steve Martin, photo provided by Pepsi /

While either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Philadelphia Eagles will raise the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LVII, the commercials are often remembered far longer than the few seconds on the screen. Whether they capture a cultural moment, make people laugh, or tug at the heartstrings, that image does not fade when the screen goes black. As fans view the two new Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl ads, Todd Kaplan, CMO of Pepsi, shares why this year’s commercials pop open a pouring of cultural truth.

During a recent conversation with Kaplan, he said that Pepsi is considered “the number one brand associated with the Super Bowl” and “more than one in five adults associate Pepsi with the Super Bowl.” Looking at the top ranked ads over the years, Pepsi has a long list of favorites, including that Cindy Crawford moment that almost everyone can picture. Add to those commercials, the beverage brand’s 10 years of sponsoring the halftime show, it is clear why the Super Bowl goes better with Pepsi.

Although Pepsi has and will continue to have a constant presence around the Super Bowl, it is more than just being another name on the list. When speaking with Kaplan, it was clear that there is an entertainment element to Super Bowl commercials. Every brand wants to be the one talked about long after that Monday morning recap.

For Pepsi, this year’s Super Bowl ads look to question a common premise when it comes to the commercials. There is an element of acting to that imagery. The jokes levied at Mr. Peanut are part of a performance. Jack Harlow is probably not really giving up rap for playing the triangle. While people might be eating a lot of Popcorners together, Breaking Bad was a work of fiction.

At the heart of this year’s Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl ads is the simple concept. Is it great acting or great taste? The brand wants consumers to put that beverage to the test, which is why it will be giving away 10 million free Pepsi Zero Sugar beverages.

Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl ads star two favorite actors

Starring Ben Stiller and Steve Martin, the iconic actors reprise some of their famous roles in these commercials. Each spot might need to be watched a few times over to catch all the references.

Check out the Ben Stiller Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl commercial.

Here is the Steve Martin Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl commercial.

As Kaplan explained about these ads, the humor and pop culture connection is clear, but the premise is more than the hearty laugh from watching the clip. Pepsi wants everyone to get that taste and see its newly formulated beverage is not just words. The flavor is real, enjoyable, and it is the beverage that people want to pour.

After leveraging the concept that “everything is better with Pepsi,” this idea of “appreciate the real taste” seems to be another level of cornering its section of the beverage market. It isn’t just about seeing a famous person sip on a flavor or give an endorsement. It is about getting that real, honest reaction, no acting required.

With Pepsi giving out 10 million free Pepsi Zero Sugar beverages to people, it is about seeing, hearing, and reacting to people’s experiences. As people share those moments, it isn’t acting; it is about expressing their thoughts on the real taste. Although few people might remember the old saying of is it live or is it Memorex, the concept is similar. Sometimes life is better without that filter.

Real taste versus real acting is the debate to be settled on Super Bowl Sunday. The Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl ads are the next chapter in everything goes better with Pepsi book. Ready to turn that page?