Pepsi Uses the Rolling Stones to Throw Shade at Coke in Super Bowl Spot

Missy Elliott and H.E.R. cover the Rolling Stones in the spot for Pepsi Zero Sugar

missy elliott and HER drink pepsi
Missy Elliott and H.E.R. star in Pepsi's Super Bowl spot. Pepsi
Headshot of Diana Pearl

Pepsi is throwing some shade at rival soda brand Coca-Cola in its Super Bowl spot.

In the ad, which highlights the newly relaunched Pepsi Zero Sugar, Missy Elliott and H.E.R. perform a cover of the Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black. The ad is also produced by Timbaland, with choreography from Sean Bankhead.

When the ad opens, H.E.R. stands in a crowd of people clad in red, against a backdrop featuring Coca-Cola’s famous wave symbol, holding a can that says “Cola” in Coca-Cola’s signature typeface. She sings about wanting to paint a red door black, and the can in her hand transforms into a can of Pepsi Zero Sugar. From there, the red backdrop fades away into a world of black, which the brand calls “an energetic place of bold, unapologetic fun.” There, H.E.R. is joined by Missy Elliott, and the pair end on a duet.

The spot, of course, puts Pepsi Zero Sugar in the spotlight, but in particular the focus is on the product’s new matte black can. According to a statement from Pepsi, the ad was inspired by “Missy Elliott music videos and past iconic Pepsi spots with some of music’s biggest stars.”

“I’ve been following H.E.R.’s career closely; her talent is undeniable,” said Missy Elliott in a statement. “When the opportunity came up, to not just work together but collaborate and create something all our own, we had to make it happen. I called up Timbaland and Sean Bankhead, I got the best of the best to make sure we brought the noise and did Pepsi Zero Sugar right.”

Pepsi is a regular Super Bowl advertiser—last year’s spot starred Cardi B, Lil Jon and Steve Carrell, all answering that often-asked question ‘Is Pepsi OK?’ Once again this year, Pepsi is sponsoring the halftime show, as well as the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LIV party, which will take place two days before the Big Game and feature performances from artists like Lizzo and Harry Styles.

For all the latest Super Bowl advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl 2020 Ad Tracker. And join us on the evening of Feb. 2 for the best in-game coverage of the commercials anywhere.

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@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.