Pepsi Max continues
to score big with "Uncle Drew."
The candid-camera-esque video exploded on YouTube in late May,
prompting the brand to whittle the five-minute clip down to a
30-second TV spot. The spot began airing last night during Game 1
of the NBA Finals on ABC and is also slated to air during Games 2
and 3 as well as on the WatchESPN live-streaming app. Pepsi Max is
planning a homepage takeover on ESPN.com this Saturday .
As of Tuesday, before the 30-second spot aired, the YouTube video had led to more than 10,000 #uncledrew tweets.
Sam Duboff, a spokesman for the brand, said a 30-second spot
wasn't on the brand's radar screen initially. "We uploaded the
video two days after Kyrie [Irving] received the Rookie of the Year
award to build on the excitement of his achievement," he said.
"Once we started looking at the metrics, it became clear that we
couldn't miss the opportunity to bring Uncle Drew to the sport's
Since the ad was posted on May 18 it has amassed nearly 10
million views. And Mr. Duboff says 80% of viewers are still
watching at the four-minute mark. As of Tuesday, before the
30-second spot aired, the video had led to more than 10,000
#uncledrew tweets, many repeating Uncle Drew catch phrases like, "I
get buckets," "Don't reach, youngblood," and "I'm a real
Mr. Duboff says #uncledrew and "Kyrie Irving" were trending
worldwide on Twitter for almost half an hour following the ad's
debut last night.
Davie Brown Entertainment worked on
the video, which features Kyrie Irving disguised as a
sweatshirt-wearing, pot-belly-sporting elderly man named "Uncle
Drew." He's attending an outdoor basketball game where his nephew
is playing, but when one of the players goes down with an injury,
Uncle Drew takes the court.
He starts slow and stiff, but then stuns the crowd with a flurry
of crossover dribbles, dunks and three-point baskets, taunting his
opponents all the while.
Natalie Zmuda oversees the CMO Strategy section and is responsible for identifying and analyzing the latest trends impacting chief marketers. Natalie also covers the retail and non-alcoholic beverage categories. She joined Advertising Age in 2008, following five years covering the retail and fashion industries for Conde Nast Publications.