Pepsi Brings 'Joy of Pepsi' Back

A Remake of One of the Classic Spots Debuts Tonight During 'Empire'

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Pepsi is bringing "Joy of Pepsi" ba, ba, ba, ba back. A spot debuting during tonight's episode of Fox's "Empire" includes a remake of an old spot in the classic campaign, which includes the sung phrase "Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba." The mnemonic was last widely used in a "Joy of Pepsi" ad starring Britney Spears that ran in 2001. But Pepsi subtly brought the saying back earlier this year at the end of ads for its ongoing "Live for Now" campaign.

The original campaign, called "The Joy of Cola," launched in 1999 and featured child actress Hallie Eisenberg. BBDO, New York was the agency. The new spot closely resembles this old Pepsi ad below that includes a radio DJ.

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In the new spot (at top), the voiceover is supplied by Ted Williams, a formerly homeless man from Columbus, Ohio who became an overnight media sensation in 2011 after a local newspaper posted a video of him showing off his golden pipes. In the wake of his stardom, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese signed him up to provide a voiceover for ads.

Ted Williams on 'Today'
Ted Williams on 'Today' Credit: NBC

This is Mr. Williams' first assignment for Pepsi, a spokeswoman confirmed. The ad also features singer Tori Kelly, as well as Nascar star Jeff Gordon and NBA star Kyrie Irving, who are regular Pepsi endorsers. The ad was created in-house and directed by Joe Pytka, the original director of the "Joy" campaign. "The new rendition is reflective of Pepsi's rich history in pop culture, which has allowed the brand to constantly position itself as a leader within the space and align with the best talent in both sports and entertainment," the brand stated.

A PepsiCo spokeswoman said there are "no plans right now" to permanently bring back the Joy tagline. Joy has been a popular phrase lately in ads, with Diageo's Johnnie Walker and ConAgra's Reddi-wip both recently releasing joy-themed campaigns.

Pepsi's original "Joy of Cola" campaign debuted during the 1999 Academy Awards and marked Pepsi's first-ever ad during the show. The first ad in the original campaign featured the voice of Marlon Brando. Other ads featured Aretha Franklin and R&B singer Isaac Hayes.

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