Yes, that is Lionel Messi. Oh, and yes that’s Marcelo. Yep, there’s Toni Kroos and Dele Alli. Despite the fact these stars will be wearing the uniforms of Argentina, Brazil, Germany, and England this summer in Russia, and that this commercial boasts that distinct “hey-we’re-all-having-fun-but-there’s-no-actual-speaking” feel of a global corporation’s international, audience-ready advertising–this is definitely not a World Cup commercial. But it is a shrewd play by Pepsi in a World Cup year.
The brand gets the jump on official World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola by launching its global soccer marketing campaign far in advance of the tournament, tagging its logo to the UEFA Champions League, and associating its name with these global soccer superstars who are playing in that competition with their club teams (FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Tottenham Hotspur) long before they lace up for their respective countries.
Is it any good? Well, that depends. Here we see these giants of the sport, along with American women’s soccer superstar Carli Lloyd, kicking exploding blue soccer balls around an unnamed city’s streets. It’s just ambiguously earnest enough to not offend anyone in the 60 markets its launching in today. You know how we know it’s launching globally? The Non-Verbal Mentos Strategy. It’s all music, smiles and high fives. And as Lay’s, Adidas, and Gatorade can tell you, Messi’s never seen a silent ad appearance he didn’t like. We might roll our eyes, but it’ll still charm the shin guards off plenty of young soccer fans.
Other big names from the global game will be appearing in more localized versions of the campaign, like LA Galaxy’s Gio dos Santos in the U.S., PSV Eindhoven’s Hirving Lozano in Mexico, Chelsea’s Victor Moses in Nigeria, Everton’s Gylfi Sigurðsson in Iceland, and Liverpool’s Mo Salah in Egypt.
Pepsi will be releasing exclusive content like player interviews throughout the year, as well as collecting a bit of cool cachet through an ongoing content partnership with Copa90.