Halftime show? The real main event of Super Bowl 53 was Pepsi’s commercial, as Cardi B, Lil Jon and Steve Carell joined forces for a fantastic spot about how Pepsi’s more than ‘okay’ – it’s ‘okurrrrrrrr.’
Sure, Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Outkast’s Big Boi are playing the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime show. But the real event is Pepsi’s Super Bowl commercial. La Flame might be on top of the rap game, but he’s no Cardi B, 26, who is arguably the star of the 2019 ad – which also features Steve Carrell, 56, and Lil Jon, 48. The spot kicks off inside a diner, when The Office star overhears a server, upon hearing a customer ask for a Coke, ask, “is Pepsi okay?”
An outraged Steve stands up, unable to believe what he heard. “Is Pepsi okay?” he asks, before asking “are puppies okay?” or, in the 60-second version of the spot, roleplaying with the server. Both ads end the same way – with Lil Jon and Cardi B both delivering their version of “Okay.” Sadly, Steve wasn’t unable to say “Okurrrrrr,” but he did try!
The 30-second spot was put together by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, according to AdAge, and will likely be the most-talked-about ad in the Super Bowl due to Cardi’s involvement. The company released teasers for the ad weeks before the big game: Lil Jon, fresh off his holiday rap song with the Kool-Aid man, pouring some Pepsi while working behind the diner counter before delivering his signature “OKAY”; Steve Carell reading the script to the Super Bowl spot, which causes him to break out in totally not-acting-laughter about how funny it was; and Cardi, dressed up in red, white, and blue sparkles, running her nails over a sequined Pepsi can.
This is Cardi’s second Super Bowl commercial, as she appeared in last year’s spot for Amazon (filling in for one of the many voices replacing Alexa.) However, her involvement in this spot is, as Kristin Corry of Noisey put it, is “kind of a big deal.” 112 million people watched Super Bowl 52 in 2018, and Pepsi “is the definitive answer given the fact that they own Doritos, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew. For the past 25 years, the soda company has managed to get some of the world’s biggest stars to hold their blue and red cans.”
The spot could also draw some outrage from fans who might have an issue with Cardi doing anything with the Super Bowl after she threw her support behind Colin Kaepernick. “Colin Kaepernick, as long as you kneel for us, we’ll be standing by you, baby,” Cardi said during the 2017 VMAS. She said she wouldn’t perform at the Super Bowl until “they hire Colin Kaepernick back.” With Meek Mill and Nick Cannon blasting Travis Scott over his role in the Halftime show, will anyone drag Cardi or Lil Jon for their role in this commercial? Cardi’s supposed to play at Meek Mill’s VIP Super Bowl party the night before the Super Bowl. Hmm. Awkward.