Pepsi's latest ad brings together an impressive collection of soccer players that crowd surf in order to be the first to a Pepsi vending machine located at the far end of a very crowded Calvin Harris concert. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? It is. It's also more dangerous than you might think.
Pepsi's concept looked strong on paper. The cast is immense, featuring Lionel Messi, Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Sergio Aguero and Jack Wilshere. Unfortunately, that's where the positives end as players participate in some sort of pickup game while stomping on the heads of innocent concertgoers.
I'm a soccer fan. I follow soccer extremely closely and even I had a bit of trouble identifying some of the players used in this spot. The ad uses large, sparkly white text for the players' names but they opted to not show the names completely on the screen at one time. Lampard's name is blurred behind him. The least iconic player, Wilshere, only has the "WILS" portion of his name on screen. The video above is the extended version, clocking in at just over a minute. The 30-second spot is so rushed it's nearly impossible to read any of the text.
If fans of the game can't identify the players how are the casual or non-fans supposed to have a chance when the names flash and dart around the screen? Pepsi had to have spent an enormous amount to bring these stars together only to fail to cash in on their star power.
Player identification aside, my biggest complaint is with the outrageous slide tackle at 0:46 that probably decapitated a few fans that were hoping to take in some of Calvin Harris' music only to have the party cut short by an eager Jack Wilshere. There's also the fact that these players are desperately trying to get to a Pepsi machine yet they all feel the need to kick a ball around while they do it. There aren't any goals or keepers. Why the need to play keepy uppy? Will it somehow make the sugar beverage that much sweeter?
The spot ends on Messi riding the Pepsi machine through the crowd, a scene that felt like it was straight out of Wayne's World 2 where Wayne and Garth crowd surf to the front of an Aerosmith concert accompanied by a refrigerator and a pizza delivery guy. Unfortunately Messi appeared to be riding solo, lacking his trusty supply of LEGOs and Herbalife.