From what we remember, Uncle Drew was just the geriatric baller from the Pepsi Max commercials. But that was 2012. And now Uncle Drew is much more than that. It’s an actual movie on real Hollywood screens. It might be the first time that a beverage company came out with its own movie. But definitely Pepsi must have its own reasons.
The movie, however, is an unusual combination of branded content and film.
‘Uncle Drew’ revolves around the story of the star Kyrie Irving. The plot is just the collection of all Pepsi commercials that went viral ever since Uncle Drew came out in 2012. Mr Irving, who is a really old man is driven to show up younger basketball players on the ground. Uncle Drew then reunites with his old team mates from his time to gather them all for one last run at the Rucker Park tournament in Harlem. The movie also features Tiffany Haddish, Shaq and Lil Rel.
When people actually see this movie on screens, they might find it absurd. And why not? It’s basically just a two-hour long Pepsi commercial. And that’s really not what some of us might want to pay for.
But critics have argued that Uncle Drew is one big step forward in the advertising industry.
This feature film is the first of its kind, and is giving a whole new direction to branding and product placements.
Recently, with increased competition in the market, Pepsi had been facing some serious challenges. With ‘Uncle Drew’ on the big screens, Pepsi hopes to win over a lot of the NBA fans. Since the movie is built around one of NBA’s hottest starts, Pepsi might just get successful here.
But this is not the first time that a soda company is interfering with Hollywood. In 1982, Coke got the possession of Columbia Pictures and sent out stuff like ‘The Karate Kid’. Very soon, it released such a horribly flop film that Coke actually had to sell Columbia Pictures and get out of the industry.
Also, Pepsi is not new here. There is a whole huge history of corporations turning their products into movies. We are all familiar with The Lego Movie and even the Transformers franchise. Basically, in the world where product placement has become such a big deal, competition and capitalism have created a need for movies like Uncle Drew.
It’s just a big marketing effort. And the general manager at Pepsi Productions has himself acknowledged it. He says,
Everyone has so many marketing methods coming at them so often that it’s tough to break through. You want to create things that people actually want to see.
Let’s just wait and see if Uncle Drew meets expectations of the company or not!
Meanwhile, you can check out the trailer here.