clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A Critical Analysis of a 1980 Pepsi Commercial Featuring Lacrosse

New, 5 comments

Those shorts are . . . short.

1980 was an important year -- John Lennon was shot to death, we kicked the crap out of the Soviets in Lake Placid, and I was born. Lost in the earth-shattering shuffle of a major musician's death, the confirmation that miracles do exist, and my birth was Pepsi unleashing an advertisement for soda that included the most disorganized lacrosse game -- or at least highlights of history's most disorganized lacrosse game -- ever. This ad may be the reason that Mount St. Helens erupted at the dawn of the decade, killing 57 people while causing three billion dollars in damage (science has yet to confirm the causal relationship, but it's probably true).

I'm operating under the assumption that this ad is built around a college game played in a park outside of West Islip, New York for the following reasons: (1) This is my site and I can do whatever the hell I want; and (2) The nondescript uniforms -- all of which are complete packages, unlike the club lacrosse scene which only requires players on the same team to breathe -- are the apex of not wanting to pay for NCAA licensing or the use of college athletes' images and likenesses without the troublesome issue of, you know, compensating someone for such things. Let's break this down:

0:01: Four-on-one defense. This is not textbook. This is, in fact, the lacrosse equivalent of six year-old swarmball, a type of soccer game that is focused on parents imparting their lost athletic dreams on emotionally vulnerable children. Everyone on Team Orange should take a lap.

0:03: Those fans look dangerously close to the action. There don't even appear to be sidelines. It's, like, "If the ball goes past Becky it's out. Also, REO Speedwagon should replace Congress."

0:05: TWO-MAN BULL DODGE! That man is either made of concrete and concentrated guile or is out on bail and fleeing from the police as his cover as a middle aged college lacrosse player was blown.

0:09: I see you, 1980's-Lyle-Thompson-behind-the-back-pass-with-a-West-Side-Story-dance-fighting-piroutette.

0:11: I have watched this video at least 20 times and still have no idea why that defensemen dove to catch that pass. It's totally unnecessary. It's not like he jumped a route to pick off a Dan Fouts pass to preserve a meaningless victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. And why are there two offensive players -- I'm guessing that they're offensive players; they could just be lost and trying to get back to the quarry for second shift -- not automatically cut from the team due to lack of hustle? Team Orange is going to set a record for needing to take a lap in a 30-second commercial.

0:12: We're 12 seconds into this thing and nobody has scored yet. Team Yellow has dominated play -- the spin dodges, the bull dodge, the Fred Astaire dodge/pass, the defensemen-picking-off-a-pass-and-having-the-wind-knocked-out-of-him-for-no-reason thing -- and hasn't even popped the pill yet. You can't let Team Orange hang around like that, especially 1980's Team Orange.

0:13: Look to the bottom right of the net. There's some idiot sitting reverse indian style -- I guess that's the technical term -- cheering on the ground ball as if Team Orange just invented the minivan.

0:16: See?! Team Orange is now on a break! I think. The continuity here isn't all that great. Whoever did the editing of this film had no respect for the concept of time or space. This commercial is basically the prequel to Interstellar.

0:22: KABOOM! Team Yellow just brought the pain to Team Orange. Which, considering the buckets the teams are wearing, likely means that the Team Orange player suffered a life-altering concussion.

0:26: TEAM ORANGE WINS 1-0! This is what you get when you don't finish the drill, Team Yellow: The cool, refreshing taste of stupid defeat. I'm not exactly sure why the Team Orange player had to jump to complete his shot -- the Team Yellow players are a good three yards away from him in any direction -- but, hey, the 1980's were a different time, man. Big telephones were the thing. Everyone was making money in the markets. And jump shots without reason were everyone's raison d'etre.

0:28: You just won the 1980 Lacrosse Championship of Lacrosse. What are you going to do? Celebrate in a still shot, of course. That's just drama. Then you'll go home and hope that your Ford Pinto doesn't explode while on the commute.

Now, the most important part of this whole commercial: The lyrics to the jingle. Written, I assume, by Dumbass F. Jerkface, it is some of the worst crap ever slung at a consuming public's face:

You're the Pepsi generation,
You don't know me. You can't even see me. I don't even know if I was actually a thing that existed when this commercial was shoved down people's throats.

[unintelligible uplifting garbage]
I honestly do not know what this lyric is. It sounds like the conductor on the 2 train announcing a potentially imaginary stop, except there's a frantic electric piano playing in the background.

And with every taste of life that's new,
Shut up.

know that Pepsi's spirit, shines right through!
You know what else shines through people? Radiation. Pepsi's spirit is toxic and dangerous as it isn't regulated. Nice job, Reagan!

Catch that Pepsi spirit!
I am reminded of a line from The Jerk: If you catch it, see a doctor and get rid of it.

Drink it in! Drink it in! Drink it in!
Go to hell.

Catch that Pepsi spirit!
I guess the Pepsi spirit is like finding the Lord, but Pepsi tries to kill you with corn syrup instead of saving your soul.

Drink it in! Drink it in! Drink it in!
STOP TELLING ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE, MOM!