Putting the Max in Pepsi

Chantelle Lindy K. Berger

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A good commercial piques your interest, is enjoyable, is fun to watch, is educational, relates to a diverse audience, fulfills perceived human needs, influences the mood of the viewer, and makes its point quickly. The Pepsi Max commercial successfully relates to the viewers by utilizing each of these criteria. The Pepsi Max commercial uses a diversity of people, music, and comedy to get its point across. Furthermore, the commercial, like all good commercials, uses exaggeration to enhance the selling points of its product.

So, let‘s take a closer look at the Pepsi Max commercial that was aired during the 2008 Super Bowl and how it specifically relates to the above criteria. First, considering the diversity of the targeted audience, the commercial begins by showing fatigued people of different vocations—farmers, office workers, broadcasters, people eating in restaurants— while in the background somber music is heard. Thus, the commercial sets the tone that all these people need something to pick them up.

The advertisement also uses music through-out the commercial to help set the tone. At the beginning of the commercial, music with a slower beat is played in the background to exaggerate the fatigue being expressed by the people portrayed, but by the end of the song, when they have had their Pepsi Max, they are wide awake and no longer sleepy and the music has become peppier. Although the music lyrics have nothing to do with the message, the advertisement uses the song to reflect the moods of the people who drink the Pepsi. Thus, the commercial uses a popular song to catch the viewer‘s attention and enhance the image of the product.

Advertisers also put comedy into commercials to capture the attention of their audience. Advertisements without humor turn many people off. Using humor is another important way that this commercial attempts to bait its viewers. For instance, the commercial shows an older man falling asleep into his bowl of soup. It also portrays a father falling asleep as he pushes his daughter on a swing. It is lighter moments such as these that makes this advertisement more enjoyable to watch.

At the same time, the commercial presents a series of scenes that tend to depict the product as being a necessity for those viewers who need it to become more alert and to be able to cope with their daily routine and work. A broadcaster is shown to suddenly come “alive” and energetic once he has gulped down a Pepsi Max. In another scene, assembly line workers are suddenly energized by swigging down Pepsi Max and begin churning out their work. All the while in the background the music pounds out at a frenetic pace while all actors in the commercial bounce to the beat of the music. It really does arouse the viewer.

The mood of the viewers is also influenced in this commercial. In the advertisement the makers of Pepsi Max imply that once people take a drink of the Pepsi they are extremely happy. The catchy music becomes bouncier and the actors respond with smiles, laughter, and dance. The upbeat presentation of the commercial really tends to make the viewer want to start their day with this product.

Finally, the product fulfills the criteria of being brief. Within a mere thirty seconds, the viewer‘s mood is lightened; he becomes educated with regards to the product; he is entertained by the humor and has been captured by the upbeat music.

In the final analysis, I must now make a decision as to whether or not the commercial has stimulated me to run out and buy Pepsi Max. Before doing so, I had to consider the side effects of drinking an enhanced caffeine product. On further research, I discovered that caffeine increases the heart rate, increases anxiety, and decreases one‘s ability to sleep. Thus, if one has a problem getting to sleep, this would not be a good beverage to drink after dinner, but I could see where it would be a good way to start the day, especially if one has been up all night studying for a test. Since I am not prone to anxiety and do not have a heart condition and have absolutely no problem sleeping at night, I would definitely buy this product and I think that the commercial was very effective in causing me to come to this conclusion. In summary, the commercial got its information across in a short period of time, was entertaining, seemed to appeal to most everyone, was upbeat, and got the point across that this product was definitely associated with happiness.

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