While The Weeknd was understandably peeved about not securing any Grammy nominations for this year, he’s getting ready to do something that no other Grammy nominee will do in 2021: headline the Super Bowl halftime show. The big game is set to go down on February 7, and ahead of then, The Weeknd has teamed with Pepsi (the sponsor of the halftime show) for a new ad to get fans hyped about the performance.
The 60-second spot shows people at home and in various other everyday environments singing along to “Blinding Lights.” It ends with The Weeknd himself pulling up to a toll gate, much to the surprise of the employee in the booth. Variety notes this is “the first time the musician at the center of the [halftime show] has taken part in a Pepsi ad campaign in advance of the effort.”
Meanwhile, Pepsi also revealed that they have decided to not air any ads for their flagship drink during the big game this year (that’s not to say that other PepsiCo brands like Gatorade and Doritos won’t have a commercial presence).
Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s vice president of marketing, told Variety, “We are going to double down on our existing 12 minutes in the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show in the middle of the Super Bowl, and we are going to build it out like we have never built it out before.” He said that while Super Bowl advertisers “are talking and fighting for 30 seconds” of attention, Pepsi wants “to focus our efforts on making [the halftime show] a critical moment for the brand.” Kaplan also said of the game and halftime show, “There is a desire for a bit of escapism and surface-level entertainment, not being constantly reminded [of the pandemic]. We think that’s the role that sports and music play for us, providing that sense of normalcy.”
Check out the new ad above.