Bryan Cranston subs for Jack Nicholson in Mtn Dew’s Super Bowl ad that spoofs the famous “Here’s Johnny” scene from “The Shining.” The PepsiCo brand plugs its new Zero Sugar variety in the 30-second spot by TBWA/Chiat/Day New York.
The brand, which has been teasing the ad since Jan. 16, had earlier revealed that actress Tracee Ellis Ross would play the role of Wendy Torrance, originally portrayed by Shelley Duvall. She is the wife of Jack Torrance, the writer-turned-homicidal maniac played by Nicholson in the 1980 horror flick.
In Dew’s version of the most-well known scene in the movie, Cranston breaks through a bathroom door with an ax—just as in the movie—but instead of saying “Here’s Johnny,” he says “Here’s Mtn Dew Zero.” And instead of fighting him off with a knife as in the film, Ellis Ross wields a shower brush but easily relents because “I am thirsty.” In the movie, “redrum”—murder spelled backward—is written on the door, but in Dew’s version it is replaced by Mtn Dew spelled backward. The final scene shows Cranston dressed as the film’s creepy identical twin characters.
The ad’s tagline is “As Good As the Original, Maybe Even Better,” a dual reference comparing Zero Sugar to regular Dew and the ad to the movie.
Of course, Shining loyalists might rather see Cranston doing an actual remake of the film, rather than popping up in a spoof ad for a soda brand—and it will be worth watching the reaction of film buffs on Super Bowl Sunday.
The ad for the sugar-free drink seemingly targets baby boomers and Gen Xers who are well-versed in Shining lore. (The film is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.) But Dew is trying to connect with younger generations via Snapchat and TikTok, the social media platforms popular with teenagers.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Dew will debut an augmented reality Snapchat filter that lets users superimpose themselves into the twins scene in the ad. On TikTok, the brand will run an “#AsGoodAsTheOG Challenge” that “will make creative use of the ‘twin’ tool and dance challenge to rally TikTok-ers to participate,” according to a press release. (Kids using both programs might need their parents to explain what it is all about.)
Dew is also tapping into Instagram, where the brand will feature “Tony”—the invisible friend of Danny Torrance in the film. Tony will be used in Instagram Stories to provide Super Bowl commentary.