Pepsi Airs First New Ads Since Switch to TBWA

Last Updated Dec 16, 2008 11:20 AM EST

photo.jpg Pepsi's first new ads since it switched its account from BBDO have appeared in New York outdoor spots, according to blogger Scott Lackey (see photos below). It is not clear if the ads are from TBWA/Chiat/Day or Arnell Group, which handled the can redesign. The work features black-and-white photos of young models' faces interspersed with the new Pepsi cans. The tagline is "Refresh everything," and there's a "refresh" device similar to the "refresh page" button on a web browser.

BNET's take: The work is generic. It sticks with the most-beloved trope of old soda companies -- the happy-looking model. These kids' faces run from merely smug to orgasmically delirious. You've seen them in ads for beer and cars and deoderant, and now they're hoping to stand out for Pepsi.

The underlying positioning of the work is the idea that kids born between 1980 and 1990 over-index on optimism, and thus the brand should keep on smilin', regardless of the recession, war and healthcare crisis. In some ways that's an interesting gamble -- people look to their soda for reassurance, not for life solutions, after all. But it also takes Pepsi a step away from its old entertainment positioning. One might argue that, in times like these, we need distraction from brands that can entertain us more than ever. These Prozac children aren't that.

They are, however, better than the Pepsi Max "suicide" ads that appeared briefly in Germany, and which forced the company to apologize. photo-1.jpg Images by Scott Lackey