Pepsi has released a new “Uncle Drew” spot featuring NBA star Kyrie Irving that ties the upcoming film and Pepsi’s Generations campaign together.
Released on Tuesday, “Timeless” shows Kyrie Irving as Uncle Drew, drinking Pepsi and playing basketball through the 1970s, 80s, 90s and modern times. The vignette features a limited-edition retro Pepsi can that will be available this summer.
Showing Pepsi through the decades is clearly a nod to the brand’s “Generations” ad campaign that debuted during Super Bowl LII. In the upcoming film Uncle Drew, the aging basketball legend must team up with members of his and the current generation in his quest to win the Rucker Classic streetball tournament and prove he’s still got it.
The character of Uncle Drew—a feisty old man with serious basketball skills—was created in 2012 for Pepsi Max in 2012. Irving, donning age make-up, hustled some local basketball players in a pick-up game in tune with the Pepsi Max slogan, “zero calorie soda in disguise.”
Irving’s acting debut went viral, and Pepsi responded with three more Uncle Drew chapters followed by 11 spots timed around NBA All-Star Games, NBA Finals and the NBA Playoffs.
While conceived by Pepsi, the character has taken on a life of its own. In fact, Irving’s fans have been known to yell “Uncle Drew” at his games. Pepsi is counting on this enthusiasm to translate into “buckets” of ticket sales when the film hits theaters June 29.
While Uncle Drew was made by PepsiCo’s Creators League Studios, it remains to be seen how much Pepsi will actually appear in the film itself.
PepsiCo recently announced additional investment in its marketing strategy to keep up with its life-long competitor Coca-Cola. After a slight drop in North American sales during the first quarter, the food and beverage giant expresses plans to “step up investments” in its core carbonated soft drink division.