Pepsi is trying to reclaim its pop culture mojo with a Super Bowl ad featuring celebrities that have backed the soda over the years, including Cindy Crawford, the brand said Thursday.
The 30-second spot, called "This Is the Pepsi," will include a reference to Crawford's iconic 1992 Pepsi Super Bowl ad, in which the supermodel appeared in jean shorts and a white tank top as two boys gawked. The remake is poised to be a little more G-rated: Her son, Presley Gerber, is slated to appear.
Pepsi did not release other creative details on the spot, including what other celebrities might appear. Stars that have appeared on behalf of the brand over the years include Beyonce, Madonna, Tina Turner, Nicki Minaj and Janelle Monáe, and of course Michael Jackson. Justin Timberlake is performing at the Super Bowl halftime show sponsored by Pepsi, so his presence will undoubtedly be woven into the brand's marketing.
Of course, one of Pepsi's most recent celebrity plays, the now-infamous Kendall Jenner spot, did not go so well. Critics called the ad a tone-deaf appropriation of contemporary social justice movements.
The new ad appears poised to hark back to Pepsi's pop culture glory days. It is part of a new global campaign called "Pepsi Generations," which is described in a press release as "a celebration of the brand's rich history in pop culture for 120 years."
PepsiCo spokespeople declined to identify the agency behind the Super Bowl ad, but people familiar with the matter said it was handled by PepsiCo's in-house agency, Creators League. The division was behind the Kendall Jenner ad but has also been credited with a range of well-regarded work, including a short documentary film called "The Rugby Boys of Memphis" that was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and carried subtle Gatorade branding.
"Since our brand was founded more than a century ago, Pepsi has stood for a youthful spirit and the choice of a new generation," said Chad Stubbs, VP-Marketing for the Pepsi trademark in North America, in the news release. "2018 will be a year to celebrate the past while embracing the future; always reminding consumers to do what they love and have a little fun in their lives."
As part of the effort, Pepsi is also bringing back a loyalty program that first debuted in 1996 called "Pepsi Stuff." Consumers can redeem loyalty points for merchandize including vintage Pepsi-branded t-shirts and hats.