Black is beautiful, especially in Pepsi’s Super Bowl 54 commercial for Pepsi Zero Sugar. While throwing some shade at that other soda, Missy Elliot and H.E.R. remix refreshment with the help of a classic Rolling Stones song.
If you see a red can and want to paint it black, then you’re in the mood for the newly rebranded Pepsi Zero Sugar. With Jennifer Lopez and Shakira headlining the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime show, the soft drink brand recruited two other major stars – Missy Elliott and H.E.R. – to help roll out the rebrand of its sugar-free drink, Pepsi Zero Sugar. At the start of the ad, H.E.R. stands among a legion of robotic clones, all dressed in red and black. She holds a soda can, whose “COLA” font is very similar to that of Coca-Cola. As H.E.R. sings the opening line to “Paint It Black,” the can in her hand transforms.
From there, H.E.R. bursts through the wall, literally opening up a new world of possibilities. Missy arrives, rapping how she’s “in her own lane / unapologetic and I do my own thing/ got my own dream.” On the “dark side” of things, everyone seems more natural, more organic, and – surprisingly – with less sugar. Zero Sugar.
Before releasing the full ad, Pepsi posted a pair of teasers for this Super Bowl spot. In the one featuring Missy, a turntable spins a record (that bears the Pepsi logo) and the opening notes of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” play. Missy, dressed in an all-black ensemble, picks up the new matte black can and cracks it open. For the teaser with H.E.R., she takes a long sip of Pepsi Zero Sugar before plucking those same opening notes on her pitch-black guitar. Keith Richards would be proud.
At this point, the question is: when will Missy get her own Pepsi halftime show? She famously appeared during Katy Perry’s Halftime show in 2015, performing “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It.” Then, in 2018, Missy made a cameo in PepsiCo’s joint-commercial for Mtn Dew’s Ice/Dorito’s Blaze. As Morgan Freeman lip-synced to “Get Ur Freak On,” Missy appeared as an Ice Princess/sculpture. Now, she’s part of the 2020 Pepsi rebranding of Pepsi Max. Will she get the headling spot next year for Super Bowl LV?
— H.E.R. (@HERMusicx) February 2, 2020
“At Pepsi, we are always looking for new ways to meet the evolving preferences of our consumers, and we know that people increasingly are looking for sugar-free options,” said Todd Kaplan, Vice President, Marketing, Pepsi, in a statement. “We’ve learned that once people discover the great taste of Pepsi Zero Sugar, they can’t get enough of it and keep going back for more. So we are going “all in” on Pepsi Zero Sugar this year and have created a bold, unapologetic new look to match its great taste, with a new matte black can and a black tab that will stand out anywhere.”
This new version of “Paint It Back” was made specifically for this commercial. “Pepsi is doubling down on its commitment to music and artists, providing Missy Elliott and H.E.R. creative license to build a song and video concept true to their style for fans to enjoy,” the brand said in a statement, per AdAge. Missy complimented H.E.R.’s “energy in a studio… I am excited to have a fellow badass woman by my side throughout this collaboration.”