Poking Fun at Cola's 'Rapture' Ads

BBDO's Jimmy Fallon and Parker Posey Pepsi Spot

By Published on .

First of all, death to Denmark.

OK? We're totally cool with that. So when we say we're on a crusade -- which we are -- we don't want any confusion on the subject. We have degenerating disks and an active ulcer; we don't need any fatwas to deal with, too. Yes, we're crusaders, but not that kind of crusade.

Our target is Coca-Cola
Anyway, our target is much bigger and more pervasive than Islam. Our target is the Coca-Cola Co., which isn't a true religion, no matter what the misguided heathens in Atlanta want to believe. God grant us the strength to wipe their idolatry from the face of the earth.

We wrote about it last month. We wrote about it the month before. And we will write about it again. Cola is not Communion wine. Drinking it is not a sacrament. It does not fill you with the Holy Spirit. It fills you with high-fructose corn syrup.

Stuff of rapture?
So why does the advertising persist in making a swig of Coke the stuff of rapture? What's with all the euphoric grinning and spontaneous demonstrations of human kindness? Dude, in the real world, if your Coke is inducing euphoria, you need to use a lowercase "c."

This is why we fight, to save the ignorant pagans from themselves.

And now, at last, we have allies in the struggle -- former infidels themselves, now converted to the one true path. Pepsi has joined the battle.

A weird, wonderful and gloriously stupid spot from BBDO, New York, takes dead aim at the cult o' cola phenomenon and exposes it for the wicked heresy it is. The commercial stars Jimmy Fallon and Parker Posey, who are seen gulping Pepsi somewhere in the West Village and being overtaken by ecstasy, whereupon they dance goofily up and down the street.

More seizure activity than dance
"Dance" may not be the right world. This looks more like seizure activity, choreographed against a sadly non-tongue-in-cheek track titled "Streamline" by German techno band called Newton. Remember the dance solo in "Napoleon Dynamite?" Next to Fallon and Posey, Jon Heder is Nijinski.

It's just so silly and adorable, thanks not to the typical Pepsi/BBDO slickness but to this spot's studied amateurishness.

Credit Parker Posey, the reigning goddess of independent cinema, who should win the Presidential Medal of Freedom for "Waiting for Guffman" alone. She's actually a talented dancer, yet she gamely allows herself here to come off looking like Judy Tenuta on Dexedrine. As for Fallon, well, let's just say it's a pleasure to see him charming again. He broke in on "Saturday Night Live" doing cute and dead-on musical impressions. Then he became a star, and proceeded to ruin almost every sketch he appeared in by giggling and breaking character. AdReview asked our editor if he'd seen the spot. He replied, "No. I hope Fallon gets hit in the face with a shovel."

Ascended to heaven
He doesn't. What happens is he and Parker are drawn to one another and wind up dancing on top of a taxicab. Fallon jubilantly tosses her in the sky, but she never comes down. Maybe she's ascended to heaven.

You could say it's hypocritical for the "Joy of Cola" brand to be tweaking anyone about overstatement. "He who is without sin," and all that. But this ad doesn't ridicule just the contour-bottle competition; it ridicules the whole genre. In spoofing Coca-Cola's zealotry, Pepsi is also spoofing -- and coming to terms with -- its own.

Furthermore, by declaring that none of this cola-induced happy-feet stuff is to be taken seriously, Pepsi actually provides some bona fide, feel-good cola fun.

Brothers, we are proud to have you by our sides. Let God protect us. And if not God, Omnicom.

Review: 3.5 stars
Ad: Pepsi
Agency BBDO
Location: New York
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