Ben Stiller returns as his infamous character Zoolander in a new Pepsi Super Bowl commercial. As you can see below, Ben Stiller’s Pepsi commercial “Great Acting or Great Taste?” sees Stiller trying to help audiences see through the illusions of Hollywood, in a discussion of whether or not people can actually discern reality from great acting. Along the way, Stiller jumps in and out of character in some clear callbacks and/or correlations to his own career – and Zoolander is, without a doubt, the star of the show. As he should be.
The references in Ben Stiller’s Pepsi Super Bowl commercial include an action-sci-fi wink at his role as vain action Tugg Speedman in the satire comedy Tropic Thunder (2008); some of Stiller’s more serious dramatic turns; plus some good-natured references to other actors like Matt Damon in The Martian (with a dash of Star Wars), or Leo DiCaprio in The Revenant.
As stated, however, Zoolander is the character that Stiller no doubt leans on most heavily in the ad. After a brief appearance in the montage of movie spoofs, Zoolander ends the Pepsie Super Bowl spot by doing a (funny? Cringe?) drop of his signature catchphrase, calling Pepsi’s Zero Sugar “really, ridiculously, good-tasting.”
The Pepsi Zero Sugar marketing campaign has put the “Great ACting or Great Taste?” campaign at the forefront, with a Twitter-ready slogan that goads consumers into trying the product. Does Pepsi still taste as good with zero sugar in it? Taste and find out…
A previous ad in the campaign had comedic legend Steve Martin (Only Murderers in the Building), doing a different (read: more low-budget) riff on the idea that something like “Zero Sugar” implies a disappointing reduction. This Super Bowl spot is clearly on a different level.
Ben Stiller played vain model Derek Zoolander in his own 2001 comedy satire film about the fashion industry – and again in a long-awaited sequel film, Zoolander 2 (2016). The franchise has cooled down since the sequel only earned $56.7 million on a budget that was about the same. The original film had a minuscule budget of $28 million.