Super Bowl

Pepsi Next Borrows Coke's Super Bowl Characters

Funny or Die Video Shows Badlanders, Cowboys and Showgirls Going Mid-Cal

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Pepsi has always delighted in tweaking rival Coke, and this year's Super Bowl will be no different.

In a video released this morning, Pepsi Next borrows a few characters Coke fans will be familiar with. Cowboys, showgirls and badlanders, introduced as part of Coca-Cola's 'Mirage' Super Bowl campaign, appear in the 75-second video, which was created in partnership with Funny or Die. Pepsi Next is promoting the video throughout Super Bowl Sunday with media buys on YouTube and BuzzFeed.

In the opening shot of "Vending Machine," a badlander races on a bike in front of a blue screen, a nod to the race underway in Coke's spot (although it's worth noting that Coke's campaign was shot in South Africa). When the director yells "cut," the badlander heads over to a Pepsi Next machine. When he finds the machine isn't working, the rest of the cast helps him out, all the while paying no attention to the nearby working Coke machine.

Angelique Krembs, VP-marketing for the Pepsi trademark, said Pepsi Next was already working with Funny or Die on a video related to its Super Bowl spot. That video, dubbed "Party Shopping," shows a group of guys buying supplies like duct tape, foam and, of course, Pepsi Next, for the "epic party" depicted in the spot airing during the game.

"We both saw another opportunity to extend the conversation online with characters faced with a choice in cola," Ms. Krembs said. "This is another example of Next's comedic and clever real-time marketing approach."

Asked whether Pepsi Next would continue to tweak its rival, Ms. Krembs said the brand would "continue to look for innovative and clever ways to drive awareness and trial for the product."

Pepsi Next, which has 60 calories per 12 oz. serving and 60% less sugar than regular Pepsi, is already betting big on Super Bowl. The brand, which carries the tagline "Drink It to Believe It," plans to give away one million two-liter bottles of Pepsi Next to the first million consumers that sign up at PepsiNext.com once its Super Bowl ad airs.

Pepsi Next went on sale nationally less than a year ago. Executives have said its sales are exceeding their expectations. TBWA/Chiat/Day handles creative for the brand.

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