Garfield's AdReview

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This feature isn't called Name Review, so we won't preoccupy ourselves with the merits of the name "Pepsi Edge" vs. Coke's C2 or any other handle for a half-sugared, half-diet cola.

Although "Edge" is pretty awful.

Because it conveys pretty much nothing. But, once again, our job here is to review the advertising, and that's coming right up: an analysis of the BBDO Worldwide, New York, introductory campaign.

Which would have been better if it weren't immediately disadvantaged by the awkward moniker. Pepsi 50/50 would have been better. Or Pepsi Split. Because Edge really doesn't apply unless the new formula offers one. But, as we've said, we're not here to kibbitz the branding process.

And Pepsi Edge is better than Pepsi Fungus.

In all probability.

So let's get down to this campaign, which positions Pepsi Edge as a modest reward for a guy's minor triumphs. That recalls one of advertising's landmark campaigns "You Deserve a Break Today"-the difference being that establishing a McDonald's visit as a reward was novel and compelling, whereas this is utterly superfluous. But this space isn't called Strategy Review, either, so we'll ignore that, and also the odd gender skew. Maybe PepsiCo's research reveals 50/50 cola to be more appealing to men then women.

Although, ourselves, we probably wouldn't have all but written off the female market by hiring two ESPN anchors to voice the commercials in the style of ... well, that's unclear, too. The scenarios depict life's little challenges-such as going to the bathroom and opening a pickle jar-announced by Stuart Scott and Rich Eisen like some sort of gymnastics event. The first bit of Pepsi Edginess begins with an offscreen toilet flush and a guy named Henry washing up.

Eisen: "The conditions at today's venue are perfect. Not too hot, not too cold.

Scott: "Henry scores some points early with a hand wash."

Eisen: "Good job avoiding the pants there. No surprises in this routine."

Scott: "Wait a minute...[Henry lowers the toilet seat with his foot] ... BOO-YOW! What a finish!"

If this were Comedy Review, we'd maybe question whether a toilet, per se, is as hilarious as the agency seems to think. And if it were TV Sports Review, we might observe that neither sportscaster has ever actually done this sort of announcing, so they both sound excruciatingly stilted and unnatural. And unfunny. And foolish.

But, wait a minute ... BOO-YOW, what a finish. While the first 20 seconds of the spot betray an empty premise, dubious relevance and amateurish execution, they do draw you into the last 10 seconds, during which some woman explains why you should buy the product.

"Reward yourself with Pepsi Edge. It has full-on flavor but 50% less sugar and carbs. So feel free to celebrate any little achievement."

Ah. A soda with half the sugar. BBDO wasted a lot of client money and our time till we got to it, but credit them for at least delivering the news.

This column is called Ad Review, which, come to think of it, isn't that edgy a name either. But, as such, it is prepared to certify: this work is marginally, minimally, almost accidentally ... advertising.


BBDO Worldwide, New York

Ad Review Rating: 2 stars

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