Pepsi's 2023 Super Bowl Ad Was Super Disappointing

A 30-second spot during Super Bowl LVII costs a whopping $7 million, up from $6.5 last year, per Statista, utilizing familiar names and voices to sell their product, like Pepsi. Since the first Super Bowl aired, Pepsi has purchased almost 100 ads, second only to Budweiser with 142, according to Wizard Pins. In 2021, Pepsi spent a record $1.96 billion on advertising, up 12% from 2020. After ten years, however, the company decided to give up its sponsorship of the Super Bowl halftime show to Apple's delight. PepsiCo Beverages North America chief marketing officer Greg Lyons noted, "It was time for us to move on from the sponsorship and direct our investments to other avenues driving deeper results like targeted digital media."  

Ever since Cindy Crawford introduced the new Pepsi can in 1992, Americans have eagerly awaited Pepsi's Super Bowl commercials. Unfortunately, this year's ad has received mixed reviews, disappointing viewers looking to be wowed.

Great Acting or Great Taste?

Pepsi has historically delivered celebrity-packed, feature film caliber ads, with celebrities like Ray Charles, Cardi B, and Britney Spears joining Crawford, who reprised her role in a 2018 Pepsi commercial. This year's Pepsi ad featured actors Ben Stiller and Steve Martin in an ad campaign called "Great Acting or Great Taste?" The actors, who appear in separate ads, play multiple characters with a nod to former roles throughout their careers, posing the question of whether or not you can discern between their great acting and the great taste of Pepsi Zero Sugar. The answer? You need to try the soda yourself, of course.  

Frito-Lay's North America CMO Brett O'Brien said they wanted this ad campaign to "deliver something fun, entertaining and memorable." Stiller's Zoolander steals the show in his ad, giving the camera his signature blue steel look, with one Twitter user saying, "who could have thought that derek zoolander is such a good actor." However, not everybody was a fan of the commercial, with many finding it disappointing. One user noted, "The f*** this have to do with Pepsi." Another wrote, "Did Pepsi spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads just to have Ben Stiller and Steve Martin tell me there's a possibility their new soda absolutely sucks, and the only way to know is to...try it??"