“Great acting or great taste,” asks Pepsi in this year’s Super Bowl ad promoting the new-and-improved version of the Pepsi Zero Sugar beverage. The ones posing the question are none other than celebrity actors Ben Stiller and Steve Martin, reprising their famous roles from “Zoolander” and “Only Murders in the Building.”
It is not unlike the company to cast celebrities in its Super Bowl ads to make the most of the event’s advertising potential, but this is the first time it is turning the well-known celebrity stereotype on its head.
In two 60-second spots, Stiller and Martin appear separately, introducing themselves in the aforementioned roles and commenting on the very nature of acting, all while sipping on Pepsi Zero Sugar and praising the taste.
Unexpectedly, the spots end with both actors breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience. They ask us whether we believe them, or are they just acting.
Pepsi elevated the Super Bowl campaign through a trending hashtag on Twitter titled “#RealorActing,” hoping to continue the debate on the social media platform.
CMO of Pepsi Todd Kaplan remarked that this was a fun way to play on expectations and authenticity, as well as the roles of actors in advertising today.
Addressing the distrust audiences have towards advertisers may be what draws them to Pepsi’s improved Zero Sugar formula. Rather than taking the actors’ word on it, perhaps audiences should try it themselves.
The longtime NFL partner is no stranger to celebrity partnerships and has previously featured Cindy Crawford and David Bowie, among others.
Considering this is the first time that PepsiCo has presented two advertisements during the Super Bowl event, its creative approach has a high chance of taking the spotlight this year.