Marketing Creative Works Pepsi

Ads get optimistic: Extra Gum, Pepsi, KFC lead the opening up celebrations


By Kenneth Hein | US Editor

May 21, 2021 | 4 min read

Masks are quickly going out of style in the US. The pubs are open in the UK. The signs of the pandemic waning are all around us. Marketers have taken notice as a flurry of new ads are celebrating the moments we have all missed, as well as a future where we actually spend time with friends and family. The Drum’s team of global editors have chosen to celebrate too. Here are five of our favorite ‘opening up’ ads.


Germs be damned – an array of new ads celebrate freedom from masks

Extra Gum: For when it’s time

Is it possible to laugh and cry from a gum ad? Yes, it is. Extra Gum, with the help of Celine Dion, toys with our emotions by showing the before and after of the pandemic. The after involves a joyous return to the office and lots and lots of kissing. For those moments, there is Extra Gum.

Pepsi: The mess we miss

Germs! They are in vogue again in this Pepsi spot. Sure, go ahead and eat those chicken wings and then cram your fingers in a bowling ball. Hit a cruise line all-you-can eat shrimp buffet with strangers. Scream at a baseball game. It’s all good. And, while you’re at it, toast it all with a Pepsi.

KFC: Love you too

During the height of the pandemic, licking your fingers certainly didn’t seem like a good idea. Still, KFC found lots of ways to generate and celebrate fan love. Set to the Barry White Classic, You’re the First, The Last, My Everything, the ad pokes fun at lockdown-driven brand moments including the calls that were made to the police when KFC ran out of chicken and crafty (and bored) people creating costumes from chicken buckets. And, oh yeah, it also brings back the famous ‘Finger lickin’ good’ tagline.

Dos Equis: A Dos of XX

Replacing the iconic ‘world’s most interesting man’ campaign is a tall order, but this new ad gives us something different: optimism. We see people amid the once-familiar ritual of getting ready to go out. There are mixed results as pants are too tight and people forget to wear shoes instead of slippers, but eventually everyone succeeds in finding their fun.

Guinness: Looks like a Guinness

There are plenty of things we could replicate during lockdown, but a perfectly poured Guinness was not one of them. This ad artfully illustrates people’s longing for their favorite stout. It culminates with the joyous moment of, finally, meeting up with your mates at the pub.

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