Pepsi has reunited with Shaquille O’Neal for some self-referential 1990s nostalgia—with a twist.
The star of a series of fondly remembered grunge-era Pepsi ads is appearing in his first TV work with the brand in decades. Only now, Shaq’s not backing Pepsi’s 1-liter “Big Slam” bottles as he did in some ads back then: Instead, he’s pushing Pepsi’s petite 7.5-ounce mini cans.
A new ad released this morning juxtaposes O’Neal’s 7-foot-2 frame with the tiny can while “I Wish,” Skee-Lo’s 1995 earworm, gets a new take. The ad, which shows O’Neal struggling to fit into a one-size-fits-all world, is rich with callbacks to his glory days as a Pepsi pitchman, an indulgence Pepsi has been affording itself as it celebrates its 125th anniversary. Other stars from Pepsi’s advertising past have recently resurfaced including Madonna and Britney Spears, whose musical ads re-aired during MTV’s Video Music Awards in September.