Pepsi enlisted the help of Elton John and singer Melanie Amaro for its 2012 Super Bowl commercial. From the standpoint of selling product, this ad should be a winner!
The ad opens up with a goofy jester-like character singing a terrible song: “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your cloths…” which I find a strange way to start out a commercial. But if your targeting people with the Warrior personality type as your prospect, then it makes perfect sense. You want to capture their attention fast, and the lure of people taking off clothing is a super-highway to that result.
The king, played by Elton John, can’t stand the singing (I can’t blame him), so he shouts: “Enough!” After a short pause, he announces his verdict in a deep booming voice: “No Pepsi for you.” Then he pulls a switch, and the jester drops through a trap door into a dungeon below.
Watch the commercial to see what happens next.
Elton John’s laugh, to indicate his satisfaction of tormenting the jester is awesome. And while he’s still laughing, you hear high-heels clicking on the tiled floor, as a figure in a black-hooded cape struts up to the front of the crowd.
Elton John, looks just like one of the judges on those TV talent shows, looks annoyed, and asks: “And what do you do?”
The woman wearing the black robe drops the cape to the floor, throws out her hip in defiance, and says: “I sing.”
And then she goes right into her song called RESPECT.
When she is done, Elton John walks up to her, and says in an exhasperated voice, like he has just been put into his place: “All right. Pepsi for you.”
Who Is The Target Audience For This Ad?
I like this ad for its effectiveness. Right off the bat, the ad hits a home run for matching the message of the ad with the target audience.
Pepsi is going after young Warriors. These are the fighters in the human army.
The one thing Warriors crave is “respect,” which I talked about before when discussing the fears of the Warriors. So Melanie Amaro’s “Respect” song is a perfect match to the fears of the Warriors.
Not only that, but Pepsi does a brilliant job of tying its product to the “spoils of war.”
When you gain respect, you get a Pepsi. - Theme from the 2012 Pepsi Super Bowl Commercial
In other words, you can bypass the getting the respect part, and just get a Pepsi. And once you have the Pepsi in your hand, you can assume that you’ve gained the respect anyway. This is a perfect example of the Law of Association.
What Emotion is Triggered In This Advertisement?
There are several emotions that are triggered in this commercial. This is a key point to all powerful advertisements, which I talk about in my 99-cent Kindle book: “Emotional Copywriting Revealed.”
Obviously we have the emotions of surprise and happiness. But they are weak emotions when it comes to selling products. You need to really add one of the power emotions, and Pepsi scores a Super Bowl Touchdown by triggering the emotion of contempt.
You can see the contempt look on Melanie Amaro’s face (one side of her mouth dips down) as she says to the King: “No… Pepsi for ALL.”
Contempt is a power emotion, because it triggers quick action. And that action is to get retribution for the person that didn’t want to give you respect. Pepsi was very smart to use it in this commercial. Melanie Amaro got even with the King.
And that is not all, at the end of the video, when the King is in the dungeon, another prisoner piles on and mocks him too: “Yea boooooooy. Ha ha ha. Erp!”
Warriors seem to love to kick a man while he’s on the ground. And mocking is one of their favorite tactics that they use.
This ad could have been improved by linking the king to Coke, which would have made the retribution that much more sweet. But even though they weren’t able to do that, I think the ad was good enough to cause Warriors to go out and drink more Pepsi.
The Ugly Truth of Rebellion
In this commercial, everything turned out fine, right? The King was tossed in the dungeon, and everyone got a Pepsi to drink. How cool is that?
However, the reality is that rebellion nearly always leads to punishment. That is the part that Warriors always ignore. They don’t seem to see far enough in advance to know how things really turn out.
A case in point is the Super Bowl half-time show. In a way, the half-time show is nearly a replay of the Pepsi commercial.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now, that one of the rappers (36 year old, M.IA. – real name Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam) gave everyone the middle finger, while mouthing the words: “I don’t give a _ _ _ _!”
Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty
It is pretty much the same rebellious attitude that Melanie Amaro displayed for the king in the Pepsi commercial. But unfortunately, everything in real life is not OK. Everyone doesn’t get a Pepsi for this rebellious attitude.
In real life though, who is the king? The NFL, NBC, the FCC, and the viewers at home. The last time this sort of incident happened, the FCC fined the television network $550,000 as retribution. And since then, the NFL has been more vigilant on who it lets perform during the game. I’m sure that there is going to be even more scrutiny of the performers at the next Super Bowl.
Update (2-7-12): The NFL was smart. I just found out, that in the contract to perform in the half-time show, MIA agreed to indemnify the NFL for any money it might be forced to pay if the FCC comes down on the TV Network. The point is, there are repercussions for bad behavior, which is great news for Logistical personality types.
Unfortunately, the NFL walks a fine line. They are also trying to appeal to the Warriors, because that is their primary audience for the league. It would be hard for them to promote a show without having Warriors as staring cast members.
Personally, as a Logistical personality type myself, I’d prefer they go with Country-Western singers for this very reason. But I understand that they have to play primarily to their audience of Warriors.
The Downside of This Commercial
So while the Pepsi commercial is a hit with the Warriors, and maybe the Morale Officers (since the star of the commercial, Melanie Amaro, is a Morale Officer type), it had the opposite effect with the Logistical personality types (like myself).
Logisticals are always offended by rebellion, because it upsets the status quo. Whenever there is chaos, which is the outcome of rebellion, the logisticals can’t do their duty for the human army. In other words, commerce breaks down, and supplies and services can’t get through to those that need it.
Logisticals will react to this ad too, by not buying the Pepsi soft-drink. I think Pepsi doesn’t care, as they believe that their future is tied to “young drinkers.” The assumption they make is that the young drinkers are ALL warriors. Unfortunately, they are only about 38% of the population, which you learned in the Personality Marketing Manual.
This is why it is important to know the personality types of your customers. If you anger the wrong group (your target customers), you could destroy your own brand.
Until next time, “Be Fruitful.”