Pepsi “Wordplay”

Here’s “Wordplay,” the first TV ad from newly crowned Pepsi shop TBWA\Chiat\Day. The animated montage features feel-good messages (“love,” “optimism,” “joy”) with the brand’s spanking new logo taking the place of the letter “O.” Also on display: Happy colors and upbeat music, the latter in the form of the jangle-pop anthem “Energy” by The Apples in Stereo. And the words “Happy 2009” appear in different languages. It’s all aimed at millennials. The commercial works the whole “let’s have a positive new year!” routine a bit too hard. It’s a lot like the beverage itself: Sweet and slightly elevating at first (owing to the caffeine, in the case of the drink), but a bit too syrupy overall and liable to leave behind a bitter aftertaste. Now don’t get me wrong; the spot isn’t actively bad. It’s just uninspired and, to extend the cola metaphor, despite its peppy visuals and soundtrack, perhaps a tad flat. –David Gianatasio