Home Video Vault Open Thread: View and Discuss The Super Bowl Pepsi Max Commercial

Open Thread: View and Discuss The Super Bowl Pepsi Max Commercial

by Erika Nicole Kendall

I’m sure the Internet’s goin’ nuts right now about this commercial… and I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to post any discussion about it altogether… until I realized that I run a site that pokes fun at crap food and the ways companies market it.

That being said… take a look at the commercial… and share your thoughts in the comments!

Meanwhile… I’m gonna share a few reasons why you shouldn’t ever – ever, ever, ever, ever, ever – drink Pepsi Max… or any other soft drink, for that matter.

Want more information on the ad? From the PepsiCo release:

PepsiCo’s Doritos and Pepsi MAX brands gave six of their fans the chance to showcase their talent on the world’s biggest advertising stage when they aired three consumer-created Doritos commercials and three consumer-created Pepsi MAX commercials during today’s Super Bowl XLV broadcast. This year marked the first time in the five year history of the Crash the Super Bowl consumer-created ad contest that a total of six ads received airtime during the big game.The six winning ads included (in alphabetical order):

  • “First Date” (Pepsi MAX) by Nick Simotas
  • “House Sitting” (Doritos) by Tynesha Williams
  • “Love Hurts” (Pepsi MAX) by Brad Bosley
  • “Pug Attack” (Doritos) by JR Burningham
  • “The Best Part” (Doritos) by Tyler Dixon
  • “Torpedo Cooler” (Pepsi MAX) by Brendan Hayward

The six winning ads were among 10 finalists selected by the Doritos and Pepsi MAX brands from more than 5,600 submissions received as part of the contest – the most ever in a single year of competition. Four of the six spots that aired during the Super Bowl broadcast were selected through consumer voting – two for Doritos and two for Pepsi MAX. In addition, Doritos and Pepsi MAX executives each selected a winning spot for their respective brands.

Now, as Crash the Super Bowl enters its final phase, the creators of the six winning ads have their eyes set on achieving Super Bowl advertising history – achieving a full sweep of the top-three rankings of the USA TODAY Ad Meter by consumer-created commercials. If three of the consumer-created Doritos or Pepsi MAX ads accomplish this goal, their creators will take home a shared $5 million prize. In addition to the potential payout, the fan who creates the highest-ranking Doritos or Pepsi MAX ad in the USA TODAY Ad Meter will win a guaranteed contract to create an additional ad for the two brands in 2011.

The ad that we’re checking out today is titled “Love Hurts,” and is described as the following:

“Love Hurts” (Pepsi MAX) – Growing up in Leawood, Kan., 28-year-old Brad Bosley always knew he wanted to be behind the camera directing. When he heard about Crash the Super Bowl, Brad felt this could be just the creative challenge and big break he was looking for. In “Love Hurts,” a girlfriend resorts to unsympathetic tactics to keep her boyfriend from indulging in unhealthy foods. One day she is pleased to find him enjoying a zero-calorie, maximum taste Pepsi MAX … until he steals a glance at another woman and she unleashes an unexpected conclusion to the spot that delivers maximum laughs. [source]


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Dee February 7, 2011 - 10:55 AM

Hated it. For many reasons, esp the underlying racial messages.

Margaret February 7, 2011 - 4:34 PM

Ditto, it was disgusting!

charlie February 8, 2011 - 3:02 AM

it was good up to she threw the can and hit the white girl and run i though it was very racis i wonder wheres ail shapertoin if it was reversed all hell would break out i,am very upset

Alovelydai February 7, 2011 - 10:59 AM

My eyes are sooooo wide open now that I wanted to scream “No girl!! Don’t let him drink that ish either!!”

Tanya February 7, 2011 - 11:10 AM

Hated it! Why must black women be portrayed as overbearing, loud, aggressive, & jealous beings? I mean really? Regardless of the health reasonings which was oxymoron bc soda isn’t any better than the stuff he was trying to indulge in…so to me the point was lost & the commerical sucked!!!

FattyBoobaLatty February 7, 2011 - 12:02 PM

I thought it was hilarious! (and to be honest it could have been a white couple, or hispanic couple or whatever – I’ve got overbearing friends of ALL colors).

However, the thought that Pepsi Max was the GOOD choice – absolutely comical. It is amazing what they think we will believe.

fanya February 14, 2013 - 1:29 PM

Loved the commercial as well. At some point every action is a stereotype. If it’s not you why worry?

Erika Nicole Kendall February 14, 2013 - 11:01 PM

This is a silly question.

Damn near every commercial during the super bowl is devoid of persons of color. So NOW, with the jealous, sassy girlfriend, the boyfriend with the wandering eye, and the cute, petite eye-candy…. we’re not supposed to wonder why THIS was the commercial, with THIS script that has THIS cast? Why each character with each trait was given THOSE specific races?

It’s not about living up to a stereotype. It’s about suspect decision making on behalf of a marketing team, and I’m not about to be shamed into ignoring it or being quiet by your implication that “something in me was reflected in that commercial.” Please. I have a faithful spouse that I don’t have to “sass” in order to get my way, and I STILL think the commercial was wack.

Some of y’all need to get it together. “If it’s not you, why worry?” “Worry” because marketing makes a difference, and I have the right to ask questions. THAT’S why.

Ruth February 7, 2011 - 12:23 PM

There is so much wrong with this video… I can’t find words… *sigh*

Curlstar February 7, 2011 - 1:01 PM

Erika, was that never, ever, ever ever? Or never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever 🙂 Overall, I thought the commercial was cute (mad hilarious at the end), but I certainly do not approve on the soda. It was better used as the thrown object. But then again, I really don’t like colas anyway.

Eva February 7, 2011 - 1:55 PM

See I thought the commercial was funny and it could have been with a couple of any race. I don’t think that it should be “black people can’t do ____ because of stereotypes. I mean racist people will always stereotype us no matter what. I thought the “House Sitting” commercial was funnier though.

J February 7, 2011 - 2:08 PM

The racial undertones in this commercial irk the hell out of me. Why do we always have to be portrayed as angry Black women?

Why did the director choose a less than average dark skinned Black woman with an ugly weave to play beside a relatively good-looking Black man who is eyeing a younger White woman with blonde hair?

Why is the White woman portrayed as being healthy while the Black folks are consuming junk? These negative subliminal messages are molding the minds of America.

Felicia Akhianyo February 7, 2011 - 2:10 PM

I watched the commercial in real time and was taken aback to say the least! Maybe was because it’s Black History month, maybe it was because I am black and female and have some sensitivities about the way we are portrayed on television and in print media… I don’t know…

I was upset by the portrayal of the African American woman in the commercial as overbearing and crazed in her approach to her boyfriend’s eating habits! I was moved three clicks past upset with the ending of the commercial in which the brother looks at the white girl who runs over and sits on the bench next to the couple (ARGH!). Then as if I needed more, I was moved the full five clicks to “incensed” at the idea of this African American couple running away after after the woman threw a can of Pepsi and hit the white girl in the head, leaving her writhing on the sidewalk!

An earlier comment noted that the couple could have been white or Hispanic, however, I’ve seen the same sort scenario (girlfriend/wife concerned/commenting on the boyfriend/husband’s eating habits) with white actors and it has usually been indoors, in their home setting, with nothing other than his male pride being injured. I get the feeling that this particular commercial was conceived with the idea that this couple would be black and that it would have never been created with any other race in mind. That really ticks me off!

Sadly, I was so overtaken by the racism, intended or not, I saw in this ad, that I barely noticed the ridiculous inference that Pepsi Max is a smart, healthy choice. That is indeed laughable and would be the only thing I might have found even remotely funny about it

Danni February 7, 2011 - 8:03 PM


Ruth February 7, 2011 - 2:10 PM

I know what’s bugging me… and the soda is minor part of my beef, actually….

I’m more than a little ticked off by the ‘stupid black fool’ imagery. It’s just old… sick.

One more thing… I must be really old, but glorifying criminality is never funny… in any colour. When did running away from the scene of a ‘crime’ become entertaining? If this wasn’t an ad, but a news report; and the young girl on the ground belonged to one of our families……

I wonder what inspired, Mr. Bosley? Hmmmm

Rae @ Rainbows and Dragonflies February 7, 2011 - 4:44 PM

I thought the commercial was funny. My husband and I talked about it afterward and he took it as a wife stepping in and keeping her husband from eating unhealthy foods. Honestly, the couple could have been of any race and the girl as well.

The jealousy was about the fact that he was talking to his wife and turned away to look at another chick. White or not, he did a doggish move.

I really think that only people who are into diet soda would think that Pepsi Max is something healthy to drink. I’ve never liked artificial sweeteners and that was well before I decided to begin my health path.

JayDee February 10, 2011 - 1:53 AM

That’s kind of the way I saw it as well, as a woman who is trying to keep her husband healthy. I didn’t see her as a jelous, angry, and mean Black woman, I saw her as someone who demanded respect. Even though throwing a can is not the way to do it. I found it hilarious!!

CoCo February 7, 2011 - 5:58 PM


I’m SO tired of black women being portrayed as angry and violent. That’s my first issue. My next issue is this; domestic violence isn’t funny just because it’s a woman doing the abusing. And last, was I supposed to laugh when the couple ran away after hurting that girl? I didn’t see the humor in that at all.

I keep asking myself “What would have made that commercial funny?” and so far, I don’t have an answer. He should’ve gone back to the drawing board with that one.

Charmaine August 8, 2012 - 2:15 PM

I think people are taking this commercial too seriously regarding the recial undertones. I’m a black woman and on the first viewing of it, I actually laughed at the end. In my opinion it could have been any type of couple in this commercial. We see wives in alot of commercials trying to install corrective eating habits for their husbands and family. One comes to mind, when a white mom and wife tells her husband and children NO for every suggestion they make until her husband asks if he can have something healthier to eat. I think its a oscar meyer lean meat commercial. This white woman is perceived as overbearing and controling as well. Sometimes as blacks we are a little too sensitive at every instance of probable racism. But then again if we don’t see enough blacks in commercials, we would be screaming and unhappy about that as well. This commercial could have been done with any race…

JoAnna February 7, 2011 - 6:41 PM

The wife was abusive. The husband was a punk for putting up with the abuse, and a fool for checking out the jogger with his wife there. The wife’s weave was atrocious, as was her angry/evil expression. But the commercial is only insulting to people smart enough to pick up on the subtleties.

That said, some people believe that diet pop is better than regular pop. Then again, some people go into a frenzy because it was Superbowl Sunday. I’m not one of them.

Roz February 7, 2011 - 8:08 PM

On what planet would these two ever be a couple? Not only was she an Angry Black Woman, she was overweight, had a bad weave to go with her bad attitude, and wore no make-up. She was dark enough not to be mistaken for any other race because she was the villain, and needed to be clearly identified as such. The black man was attractive, but stupid and weak, and since all black men supposedly want white women anyway, of course he was attracted to the all-American girl: the good, innocent, blond, physically fit, pretty, friendly, White woman. Besides, who wants an evil Black woman if you can get a nice White one? The white actress was the victim, and the only one in the commercial with any integrity, because everybody knows the stereotype that black people are sneaky and dishonest, right? The product being advertised was irrelevant; I understood the underlying message, and as a Black woman, I did not appreciate it one bit.

Lynaya February 7, 2011 - 8:14 PM

At first I thought wow she’s SO mean. Then it was almost funny-until I asked myself…why is she dark skinned? Why is it SO obvious she has on a wig? Why does she flip because he’s looking at a white girl? It’s clear that Pepsi doesn’t care about how we are portrayed….truth be told, none of these companies do. We need to speak with our dollars, not our keyboards.

JayDee February 8, 2011 - 1:28 AM

I didn’t find the commercial to be racist at all. I know some women who act this way. I found it hilarious! Be glad, Black People, that they employed some AA’s in this economy NO MATTER WHAT THE ROLE IS. I also thought it was very clever, if I didn’t know the truth about sodas, I would go out and buy it!

Erika February 8, 2011 - 2:07 AM

“Be glad, Black People, that they employed some AA’s in this economy NO MATTER WHAT THE ROLE IS.”

I could NEVER support that logic. I’m just being honest.

JayDee February 10, 2011 - 1:31 AM

I can respect your opinion and where it comes from. I’m unemployed and have a son, so I’m just glad that they chose African Americans, in this economy, to do the commercial. Would it have been any better if it were a white couple and a black girl was hit with a can? I’ll answer the question for you all. Absolutely not. It would have made it worse. Then some of you will be asking, “Why did the Black woman have to get hit with a can, and why is the white guy looking at her, that’s racist.” I try not to disrespect people while they are working. You have to start somewhere. However, I do love your post and I am entitled to my own opinions. Sometimes, I just choose to see the positive in a situation instead of the negative.( I learned that being unemployed, it really humbles a person.)

Nicole February 8, 2011 - 3:53 PM

I can not even begin to think that this commercial was funny. The fact of the matter is that it was incredibly racist. It was aimed at making sure the “white girl” was the one with the sympathy vote because she was picked on not just by the “black girl” but also her husband/boyfriend. He was the trigger of the attack by looking and the “black girl” was the attacker. The fact that for some reason it was funny to put an “ugly weave/wig” on the “black girl” shows even more prejudices. I agree with many of the comments before hand that talk about the man being weak and would only be portrayed as black while a white man is “degraded” in his own home.

Finally, the Pepsi was the last thing on my mind and didn’t even register as a blip on the map compared to everything else.

p.s. It’s my first comment and I absolutely love your blog. Thank you for inspiring me.

wube February 8, 2011 - 8:23 PM

Just forget the stereotype of the black woman, how about that of the black people being cruel creatures who, to escape responsibility, leave the innocent beautiful white girl at bay on the road, even not daring to see if they can help.
everything in this ad is racist, and I would expect a well-coordinated campaign against Pepsi, until they offer apology and committed themselves to a noticeable act of redressing. Obviously, Tyler Perry would jump to the defense, and ask us to be happy that they employed black actors to do the commercials.

Nikki February 8, 2011 - 8:53 PM

Wow!! I thought I was the only one that didn’t like that commercial. It was disgusting and I am so fed up with how society wants black women to think we are paranoid about losing our black men to a white/nonblack woman!!! Its 2011 and that mess of trying to make the black woman feel as though we are inferior and/or not wanted by even our black man is coming through loud and strong. Enough already!! Its not going to work! We know otherwise.

Another thing I don’t like Pepsi anyways. I’m a Coke girl(on my cheat day) LOL! Pray for me Erika. I’m trying(LOL!!) Love your blog girlfriend:)

Dave the white guy February 9, 2011 - 1:52 PM

We are so vain that we even care for the opinion of those we don’t care for.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Astrial February 9, 2011 - 11:59 PM

It’s very unlikely the actors in this commercial were selected by default rather than design. Such a commercial would not have been created with an African American woman cast as the object of desire had the couple been Caucasian. I can’t help but wonder which demographic this commercial was created for. I, for one, will certainly not contribute to Pepsi’s profit margin ever again… and I mean that. The sterotypes in the commercial were blatantly obvious and offensive.

Kat June 3, 2011 - 2:18 PM

Okay, let me preface this by saying that I’m white but for whatever it’s worth, I found this ad so obviously offensive. Could the couple have been any race? Yep. …so why weren’t they? The stereotypes portrayed are so cliche I find it impossible that the guy who created the ad wasn’t aware of them. So why not just have the couple be white, Asian, or whatever to avoid the inevitable fallout if he really wasn’t going for racial humor? At best, he’s insensitive, or just culturally oblivious… which seems kind of unlikely, considering he works in such a culture-oriented field as advertising.

Anyway, Erika, you have an awesome blog! A friend sent me the link a while back and I find your articles very insightful and helpful to read in keeping myself on track. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

Catherine August 18, 2011 - 11:34 PM

As I was watching it I was thinking “Why is she being so mean to him?”

If it were a couple of a different race, there would be less problems, especially since there aren’t any behavioral stereotypes. However, I think men view all women this way. However, they can view black women as the worst.

I don’t know whether or not to let this go. I think the point of the commercial could’ve been dealt with another way. Either way, I haven’t seen the commercial on television (probably due to complaints) so I’m pretty sure they won’t be thinking of redisplaying it.

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