By Webb Wright | Reporter

February 8, 2023 | 5 min read

Ben Stiller and Steve Martin tell viewers how delicious the new Pepsi Zero Sugar is, or were they just acting?

Pepsi has unveiled not one but two 60-second spots that will air during Super Bowl LVII. The ads, starring comedic icons Ben Stiller and Steve Martin, promote Pepsi Zero Sugar, the brand’s sugar-free cola which was given a flavor reboot last month. The Super Bowl ads encourage consumers to try to Pepsi Zero Sugar for themselves, rather than simply taking the word of a celebrity.

We see Stiller and Martin – after cycling through some familiar acting tropes to demonstrate that their on-camera emotions are not in fact real – take a sip from a can of Pepsi Zero Sugar. Both express deep approval with apparent sincerity then, with a mischievous glance, remind us that they may in fact just be acting.

“Only way to find out is to try it yourself,” the actors tell us at the close of the ads.

“We recently gave Pepsi Zero Sugar an upgrade … we will put it up against any other zero-sugar [cola] out there and we’re confident that it will win in terms of its taste and how it's received,” says Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s chief marketing officer. “We want to shout it from the rooftops at the Super Bowl, which is why we’re doubling down on Zero.”

Kaplan explains that Pepsi’s Super Bowl campaign pokes fun at the longstanding tendency for brands to partner with professional actors to sell a product or service. “You’re paying somebody to make you believe something is real when it might not be real,” he says. “There’s no day that is a more egregious offense of this kind than the Super Bowl … the day when everybody just wheels out every celebrity known to man, every actor, every musician, trying to get them hawking a product … trying to get attention from consumers.”

The beverage giant teased its two new Super Bowl ads with two shorter video spots (in which Stiller and Martin roast each other), released last week.

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The two new ads were directed by Jorma Taccone, of Lonely Island fame. The ad with Ben Stiller includes a brief cameo from actor and former Saturday Night Live cast member Rachel Dratch, as well as a shot of Stiller reprising his beloved role as Derek Zoolander.

Pepsi will also make it easier for fans to try Pepsi Zero Sugar by continuing to give away 10m free samples of the product. (The giveaway started last month during the NFL playoffs.) “We’re gonna put our money where our mouth is to [promote] this idea that the ‘only way to find out is to try it yourself,’” Kaplan says.

The new ads mark Pepsi’s first Super Bowl ads in three years.

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Marketing Brand Strategy Pepsi

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