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Pepsi shines a light on ‘The Weeknd’ in its Super Bowl Halftime Show ad

The show’s official sponsor has decided to cut its ads to bring more focus on the event.

Pepsi has released an ad featuring Canadian singer-songwriter ‘The Weeknd’ for the upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show. The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, will headline the Super Bowl Half Time Show at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on February 7, 2021.

The cola major has been the official sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show since 2012 and has extended its sponsorship contract to 2022. It has also been National Football League’s official soft drink sponsor since 2011.

It’s an interesting ad for two reasons. First, the minute-long ad, where people sing and belt out The Weeknd’s 2020 smash hit ‘Blinding Lights’, give viewers a glimpse of his face after a while.

Pepsi shines a light on ‘The Weeknd’ in its Super Bowl Halftime Show ad

Recently, The Weeknd shocked viewers when he sported disturbing alterations to his face (as seen in plastic surgery) in the video for his new song ‘Save Your Tears’, from his ‘After Hours’ album. It won the Favourite Album, Soul/R&B at The American Music Awards (AMAs) in November last year (2020). He appeared with bandages on his face to accept the award. Please note, the facial changes were nothing but prosthetics.

Second, Pepsi has, for the first time, featured the Halftime Show’s headline artiste in its ad. However, Pepsi is planning to dial down its ads to bring more focus to the show.

"Over the past decade, the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show has become one of the most anticipated, viewed, and talked about moments in music and entertainment. So, this year, instead of buying a traditional 30-second in-game Super Bowl ad, we decided to double down on the 12 minutes Pepsi already has in the middle of the game – the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show," said Todd Kaplan, VP of marketing at Pepsi.

"Coming off of a year that was mostly void of live music, we are reimagining the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show to ensure fans can experience The Weeknd's performance in new ways that have never been done before, with tons of exclusive access and content leading up to the show."

Pepsi is bringing the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show to life across multiple retail and digital components. There are retail promotions in markets around the country (the United States) now and, in the coming weeks, more content and experiences will roll out for fans online. The campaign includes:

  • 'Get Ready', a new Super Bowl Halftime Show commercial that will replace the brand's traditional 30-second in-game ad. The new national spot, featuring The Weeknd and his chart-topping hit 'Blinding Lights', debuted this past weekend during the NFL Super Wild Card games and will continue to air nationally leading up to the big game, the Super Bowl, on February 7.

  • Specially marked Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show cans and packaging will be available at retailers nationwide, till supplies last. This marks the first year ever that the Halftime Show logo will appear on Pepsi packaging for sale in retail.

  • A QR code on specially marked packaging will lead consumers to, where they can access exclusive artiste and show assets, and engaging AR filters.

  • Retail promotions, featuring Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show point-of-sale displays, are rolling out across national partners, including Kroger, 7-Eleven, Target, Dollar General and more.

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the NFL and its Halftime Show is one of the most-watched events of the year in the US. As per Neilsen, nearly 100 million viewers watched the Super Bowl in 2020.

Also Read: Audi, Google, Cheetos, Alexa among buzziest Super Bowl ads

With so many eyeballs, the event is also one of the most hotly contested ones for ad spots. According to Fox, the average cost of a 30-second ad for 2020’s event was a whopping $5.60 million (Rs 39.85 crore), a record high. As per CNBC on December 20, 2020, “CBS (a media network that will broadcast the game) is charging approximately $5.5 million for 2021 spots.”

As per Kantar, last year’s Super Bowl brought in an estimated $435 million in ad spending – a record. But, this year many people and brands remain watchful, thanks to the COVID pandemic and the present political situation in the US.