Cindy Crawford Pops Up in New Diet Pepsi Ad -- in Emoji Form

Brand Remakes Its Famous 1992 Super Bowl Spot

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Pepsi is bringing Cindy Crawford back. Well, sort of.

The soda brand has remade Ms. Crawford's famous 1992 Super Bowl ad. Except this time she appears as an emoji in an ad for slumping Diet Pepsi. The result is a very G-rated version of the steamy original, in which the model appeared in jean shorts and tight white tank top as two boys gawked.

The new version only shows Ms. Crawford's head in emoji form, including her trademark mole. The boys in the original spot are replaced with cartoonish emojis, whose eyes light up with hearts when the model buys a Diet Pepsi from a vending machine.

"The original spot was so great -- people come up to me to this day and say they loved that spot," Ms. Crawford told CNN. "I think there's so much nostalgia for the commercial, so we decided to do it with a twist as a Pepsi emoji. It's fun to connect with a younger audience."

The 15-second ad is part of Pepsi's ongoing "Say it With Pepsi" campaign that features emoji-designed bottles. The brand has supported the limited-time packaging with more than 100 online and TV ads that began in mid-May and are five seconds in length. The Crawford spot is the first 15-second ad in the campaign. Agencies working on the campaign include Motive and Quietman.

The model has not appeared in a brand Pepsi TV ad since the 1992 Super Bowl spot, which was used to promote a new can design.

There are no plans to put the real Ms. Crawford in new Diet Pepsi ads, a PepsiCo spokeswoman said.

Ms. Crawford has done other work for the marketer in recent years, including starring in a campaign for PepsiCo-owned Propel. PepsiCo also cooperated with "The Late Late Show With James Corden" earlier this year when it spoofed the original 1992 spot.

The emoji ad comes as Diet Pepsi continues to deal with sales headwinds in the slumping diet soda category. The brand last year removed the much-criticized aspartame sweetener from its formula in attempt to spur sales. The new formula uses sucralose combined with acesulfame potassium, or Ace-K.

But the change is apparently not going over too well. The Wall Street Journal on June 8 reported that PepsiCo was preparing to meet with bottlers to discuss "an action plan to stabilize diet cola." But the newspaper the next day reported that the marketer canceled the presentation.

"For those who love the older formula we are still exploring ways to make it available," a PepsiCo spokeswoman told Ad Age.

In 2015, Diet Pepsi sales volume fell 5.8%, according to Beverage Digest.

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