Forget Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Ad, Here’s the Only One That Matters

Kendall Jenner’s recent Pepsi commercial failed to do what Cindy Crawford’s Super Bowl Pepsi ad from 1992 did. Achieve iconic status. Whichever ad agency thought that giving a Pepsi to police would solve society’s problems should have consulted BBDO, the New York ad agency that created Crawford’s memorable Pepsi ad.

Crawford’s commercial is so popular that there have been a couple of remakes of it. If Crawford’s wish comes true, there might even be a third.

Crawford still holds fond memories of the ad and advertisers hold it up as legendary. Here’s how, 25 years later, a Pepsi commercial entered the pantheon of great ads.

Cindy Crawford Ruled the Modeling World in the Early 1990’s

In 1992, Cindy Crawford sat atop the modeling world. She earned $10,000 a day as a model, Revlon had her on a four-year, $4 million contract and Crawford also hosted MTV’s House of Style.

That’s also the year Crawford’s Super Bowl Pepsi ad hit the airwaves and cemented her in commercial history.

Crawford’s 1992 Super Bowl Pepsi Ad

For football fans, that year the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills by a score of 37-24 in Super Bowl 26. It was during halftime that Pepski premiered Crawford’s ad.

It featured a 25-year-old Crawford in a tight, white tank top and denim cut-offs. She pulls up to a rural gas station in a red Lamborghini. “Just One Look” by Doris Troy plays in the background. Then, Crawford steps out in slow motion, looking amazing of course.

Two young boys run up to a fence and just stare at Crawford with their mouths and eyes wide open.

Crawford then catwalks over to a Pepsi vending machine, puts in her money and grabs a cold Pepsi. As she finishes it, she holds her head back, eyes closed and makes like she just had the most amazing orgasm ever.

One of the boys then remarks to the other kid, “Is that a great new Pepsi can or what?” He’s blind to Crawford’s beauty, but not to the new Pepsi can they were advertising that year. Same great taste!

Over time, agencies and the public quickly recognized it as a classic. So special that it got remade in 2016. The results were a little mixed though.

Pepsi’s Ill-Advised 2016 Remake

In this remake, Crawford and the young teens were now played by cartoon Pepsi bottles and emojis (!). That’s already mistake number one and two.

The storyline follows the original. However, when “Crawford” makes makes her way yet again to the vending machine, a voiceover says “Find your Diet Pepsi emoji today?”

What? No, very forgettable. However, the next remake did a pretty good job.

James Corden and Cindy Crawford’s Pepsi Remake

In this one, James Corden joins Cindy Crawford as they remade the commercial for The Late Late Show with James Corden. The commercial debuted after Super Bowl 50. Again, we have the same storyline. Crawford pulls up in the a red lambo, “Just One Look” plays in the background again. As with the original, two young boys run up to gawk at Crawford.

Crawford heads to the vending machine, puts in her money and pushes the button. No Pepsi though.

Just then Corden steps out of the passenger side of his lambo wearing the same outfit as Crawford: white tank top, denim cut-off.

Corden saunters over to the vending machine and pounds on it a couple of times.

One kid repeats the 1992 line, ““Is that a great new Pepsi can or what?” to which the other responds “It’s beautiful.” That’s when Corden belches, Pepsi spilled and stained all over his tank top and asks Crawford to get out of there.

Definitely a better remake than emoji Cindy.

25 Years Later: How Crawford’s Commercial Reached Iconic Status

What made the ad so special? Crawford pointed to the cleverness of the commercial.

‘Yeah, it’s me being sexy and getting out of a car, but with these little boys kind of looking and then that line that they’re really not watching me — they’re just looking at the can. I thought that was very clever.’

There’s obviously the commercial’s sex appeal. Crawford, in her prime, showing cleavage and also her legs in denim cut-offs. For guys, it’s the #1 reason.

For the 25th anniversary, Crawford Instagrammed a short promo. In it, she held up the denim cut-offs from the commercial and recounted how the directors decided to use it.

“These were the jeans that I was wearing to the commercial. They were like do you mind if we cut your jeans and I was like no.”

Don’t forget Crawford’s popularity in 1992. Cindy Crawford was THE supermodel at the time and known by everyone. No one else could draw such attention. Pepsi also put her on the biggest stage, the Super Bowl, at a time where viewers didn’t have Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, and so many other media sources competing for their attention.

There’s also the nostalgia factor. Over time, people’s memories kept it alive and perhaps nostalgia gave it even more power. The song, “Just One Look,” triggers memories of the old days. The commercial took place in a rural area which further anchors viewers to nostalgia for yesteryear. While there was sexuality, it wasn’t overt and in your face. Plus, the punchline, if you will, was fairly funny in the whole context of the commercial. All those factors combined gives the commercial staying power 25 years later.

Will Cindy Crawford’s Daughter Remake the Ad?

Now that Cindy’s at the older age of 51, she hasn’t lost too much of her supermodel looks. It’s time for the next generation though and she recognizes that. Crawford wouldn’t mind Kaia Gerber, her 15-year-old daughter, taking her place.

Gerber has landed ads for big brands such as Marc Jacobs and Versace. During the commercial’s 25th anniversary, Crawford said “Instead of me remaking the commercial, someday maybe Kaia should be remaking this commercial.”

Crawford says that social media today has given Gerber and her generation a leg up in modeling.

“In terms of modeling, the social media generation has the advantage that they’re all already models in their own life. Even not professional models, they know their angles, honey, better than me. I’m always like, ‘How do you do that selfie?’ I can’t quite figure out the selfie.”

Who wouldn’t mind seeing Crawford’s daughter taking mom’s Pepsi commercial to its 50th anniversary? That would be pretty amazing.

If Pepsi’s Kendall commercial went looking for iconic status, they dropped the ball big time. All the reasons that Crawford’s commercial worked were the reasons Kendall’s didn’t. Kendall’s nowhere near the star Crawford was in 1992. No one’s drinking Pepsi, or soda, as much anymore, so there’s that. Also, Kendall’s commercial didn’t debut during the Super Bowl. She didn’t have the platform.

Pepsi tried to manufacture a moment with Kendall, but for Pepsi, nothing has come close to their Cindy Crawford Super Bowl ad.

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