How Pepsi Translates Slapstick for the Rest of the World

PepsiMax Ads Use -- Surprise! -- Violent Humor to Attract Men

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By now you've probably seen PepsiCo's Super Bowl bid to try to get men interested in its non-diet diet cola, PepsiMax. If you didn't, here's a brief plot summary: Various male characters are befallen with violent accidents like getting hit with a golf club, bonked with a bowling ball, electrocuted while standing on a ladder, etc. The idea is that, as the script has it, "men can take anything" except the taste of diet colas, and so PepsiMax is just the drink for them.

That kind of violent humor is well and good for American audiences slobbering into their guacamole, but what about the more sophisticated TV viewers of Europe and elsewhere? For them, Pepsi went with, well, more violent humor.

In the "Fight Club"-esque "Interview" (embedded below), a guy rather loudly beats the crap out of himself in the boss's office so he can clear the line outside of other job candidates, helping one of his friends land the gig. In "Dating," a dude interrupts a pickup attempt to kill a squid who's attacking a nearby swimmer. Both swimmer and squid (a guy in a costume) are revealed be his mates.

These likely won't gin up as much controversy as those illustrations out of Germany last year for PepsiMax, but they do seem fit for the young-male target. But what's the difference between the slapstick made for the U.S. and that made for the rest of the world? Plot. A little bit of it, at least. The international spots make you follow a 45-second or so story, sure to help you work up thirst.

The ads, both from Omnicom Group's BBDO CLM, have been running in Europe this week and will soon break in other regions:

Here's "Interview":

And "Dating":

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