Pepsi goes to desert in Super Bowl ad

Don’t look for the Phoenix skyline in Pepsi’s Super Bowl commercial. Look for the desert.

Pepsi’s highly anticipated Super Bowl commercial — which will directly lead into the halftime show that it sponsors starring Katy Perry — is set in the desert and is littered with visual “surprises” of desert scenery and desert activity, says Lou Arbetter, senior director of marketing at Pepsi.

“Strange things happen in the desert,” says Arbetter, in a phone interview about Pepsi’s broader Super Bowl marketing plans. “That’s the basis of the spot.” Officials declined to discuss more details of the 30-second commercial which, they say, will not be publicly revealed until it airs right before the 12-minute halftime show.

For Pepsi — and archrival Coke — Super Bowl advertising and marketing is all about trying to stay culturally relevant.

“The Pepsi brand has been associated with these kinds of cultural moments since Michael Jackson moonwalked,” says Arbetter. “This is our sweet spot.”

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