Pepsi gathers Super Bowl Halftime Show all-stars in cinematic trailer

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Pepsi debuted a cinematic trailer for a Super Bowl Halftime Show the soft drink marketer is promoting as its most anticipated to date, according to a press release.
  • Titled “The Call,” the nearly 4-minute video depicts a star-studded lineup of Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar assembling after receiving the call from Dr. Dre, who will also perform at the event. Directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday,” “Straight Outta Compton”) and scored by Grammy-winner Adam Blackstone, the creative features callbacks to each artists’ careers while layering in some of their most iconic songs.
  • Pepsi is evolving the Halftime Show, where it has served as longtime sponsor, into a multiweek campaign, with 30-second cuts of “The Call” planned to run around the NFL playoffs and other programming ahead of Super Bowl LVI. The brand is also spotlighting a new Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show app with behind-the-scenes footage from the video, prop giveaways and the chance to win gear like footballs signed by Dr. Dre.

Dive Insight:

Pepsi is hitting the gas on hyping up the Super Bowl Halftime Show, which this year brings together a team of musicians from the hip-hop and R&B pantheon. Many of them are from the West Coast, a possible nod to this year’s host city of Los Angeles.

The beverage marketer is putting more media muscle behind the event than in years past, with a centerpiece long-form video modeled on blockbuster movies and accompanying shorter TV cuts that will air during the runway to Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. A new mobile app also factors into the push as Pepsi deploys a multichannel approach that recognizes people may be spending more time with smaller screens.

Developing a full-fledged campaign for the Halftime Show speaks to how Pepsi wants to spotlight the talent roster. “The Call” is rich with references to cultural touchstones and songs associated with each of the five artists, including hit singles “Rap God,” “The Next Episode,” “Family Affair,” “HUMBLE.,” “Still D.R.E.” and “California Love.” Narratively, the ad takes a page from “The Avengers” playbook, with Dr. Dre filling the shoes of Nick Fury in bringing a variety of icons together on one stage.

“Given our epic lineup of five superstar talents, we wanted to deliver a cinematic experience that could properly honor each of the artists and celebrate their role in music and culture as they descend upon Los Angeles to deliver a performance for the ages,” Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing at Pepsi, said in a statement.

Last year, Pepsi ran ads starring The Weeknd ahead of his performance at the Halftime Show, but eschewed an in-game commercial. The soda brand will again forego a traditional spot this year, though other PepsiCo products — including from Frito-Lay — are set to make appearances.

Pepsi has held sponsorship rights for the Super Bowl Halftime Show since 2012, but its contract is set to expire after the current NFL season wraps. CNBC reported in October that the league is planning to take the option for the rights to the open market, potentially setting up a changing of the guard.

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