On February 4, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles will come together on the biggest stage in sports to vie for football supremacy. The day after, the cream of advertising’s creative crop will convene in New York to declare one Super Bowl ad the best of the year and will proudly honor it with the 4th annual Super Clio.
To help set the stage, we are going to spend the next few weeks leading up to the big game highlighting the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time. Those pop culture touchstones that are still referenced today, and which helped cement football’s championship showcase as the most important date on the calendar for agencies and brands.
WEEK SIX: Pepsi, “Generations”
Air Date: February 3, 2002
Super Bowl XXXVI (New England Patriots 20/St. Louis Rams 17)
If you still stubbornly refuse to accept the fact that 2002 was a very, very long time ago, consider that two of the biggest names on the planet at the time were “Pepsi” and “Britney Spears.” Hits hard, doesn’t it?
But it’s true – the teen queen of pop signed a blockbuster multi-million dollar deal with the soft drink company and the two began a beautiful friendship that would spawn campaigns ranging from Britney dancing in a warehouse to a four-minute opus in which Britney and Pink pretended to be Roman gladiators (again, this was the early aughts). But perhaps none were as impactful as “Generations,” a spot which played during the Rams/Patriots Super Bowl and imagined what Britney would look and sound like in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s/90s (the ad plops her specifically in “1989,” so they could effectively notch two decades at once), and then “today.” The ad was the brainchild of BBDO New York, and the whole Britney campaign ranked as one of the most expensive in the world at the time.
Britney’s reaction to “Generations” (also sometimes referred to as “Now and Then”) was, well, pretty straightforward. “Commercials are always the best on the Super Bowl, so hopefully my commercial will be able to fit in there with all of the other ones. But you know what? So far, I mean, I’ve had a blast shooting this commercial.” An interesting sidenote is that Britney’s Pepsi contract ended at the close of 2002, and the company announced its next singing spokesmodel would be a newcomer named...Beyonce Knowles of a new group called Destiny’s Child. The now-embarrassing New York Times announcement read thusly: “Ms. Knowles, a black [sic] singer who earlier this year appeared in the movie ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’ and will release a solo album next year on the Columbia Records label of Sony Music Entertainment, will help Pepsi reach consumers with a wider range of racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds… Pepsi also has the option of sponsoring a solo concert tour by Ms. Knowles if she decides to undertake one in 2003.”
Feel old yet?
Meet the 2018 Super Clio Jury, right here.