Aishwarya Ramesh

The Shining-esque ad for Mountain Dew Zero

Mountain Dew's new Super Bowl spot features 'Breaking Bad' actor Bryan Cranston.

Armed with an axe and a bottle of Mountain Dew, Bryan Cranston slowly shuffles up the stairs. There is a terse silence as whimpering victim, Tracee Ellis Ross, an American sitcom actor, cowers in the bathroom. The ad is for the latest Mountain Dew product - Mountain Dew Zero, a variant with no sugar added in. The commercial tries to be a parody of the American psychological thriller The Shining - based on a hotel caretaker's failing mental health as he struggles to maintain a palatial hotel during its off-season (winter.) The original 1980 movie was directed by Stanley Kubrick and stars Jack Nicholson in the lead.

Cranston delivers the movie's famous classic line (“Heeeeere’s Mountain Dew Zero?”) while hacking away at the bathroom door and when she spots the lime green soda drink, Ross is actually relieved, taking the drink from his hand and sipping on it. The ending shot of the ad film is a recreation of a famous scene in the movie where blood gushes out of an elevator. Instead of blood, obviously, the brand chose to show copious amounts of Mountain Dew rushing out. “I apologise for any damage that does to any person’s psyche, but it is funny,” Bryan told AdWeek.

The Breaking Bad actor mentioned in an interview that the commercial’s concept was presented to him in a way that was “clearly a parody,” and that was “how they hooked me.” Casting for the commercial was harder than it looks. “We did not want to find actors who would simply do imitations of the original cast, rather we set out to find amazing modern actors who could put their own spin on this,” Amy Ferguson, executive creative director for TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, the firm behind the commercial, told AdWeek. “They needed to be talented enough to play the part convincingly, but also have the comedic chops to deliver the entire thing with a wink.”

It's not just Mountain Dew. Pepsi also released an ad during the Super Bowl for a zero sugar variant. Pepsi's ad featured singer-songwriters Rihanna and Missy Elliot. The ad takes a sneaky dig at rival cola brand Coca Cola, starting out with red and white tones - morphing eventually into a black red and blue avatar - similar to Pepsi Zero's new packaging.