Pepsi & Irving Launch ‘Uncle Drew – Ch. 4’ Plus A Nike-Linked Kit Competition

Pepsi Uncle Drew 1Pepsi Uncle Drew 2MMS only: Pepsi Behind The Scenes - Miami, September 17Pepsi Uncle Drew 4

November sees Pepsi bring back its Uncle Drew online series with the launch of Chapter 4 in its blockbuster basketball campaign fronted by Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving.


Two years after his last outing as the ageing baller, point guard Irving reprises his heavily made-up, elderly Uncle Drew alter ego who once again surprises unsuspecting urban court onlookers with his skills (and a little Pepsi product placement).


The new seven-minute film, shot in Miami and featuring fellow masquerading basketball stars Baron Davis and Ray Allen, sees old-school meet new-school in an on-court comedy as the ‘old’ men challenge each other to a game of ‘H.O.R.S.E’ (a playground shooting game where the first to spell the word loses).


As with previous chapter, the unsuspecting spectators at the urban court were simply told that they would be filmed as part of a ‘basketball documentary’, and instead were stunned and enthralled as the heavily disguised NBA stars put on a series show of skills.



The credits list Kyrie Irving as both the writer and director of the film, which was developed for PepsiCo in harness with David Brown Entertainment


This time, the long-form film comes supported by a Pepsi Pass Sweepstakes – a list-building mechanic (in partnership with Irving’s sponsor Nike) competition which offers fans/viewers a chance to win one of the limited edition Uncle Drew kits.


The kits themselves contain a pair of Limited Kyrie Irving x Uncle Drew NIKE Kyrie 1′s, a Pepsi Uncle Drew Nike hoodie, a Kyrie bobblehead, and some stickers & magnets.


Five kits are being won over the campaign’s first three weeks.




Unlike the previous three Uncle Drew chapters, this latest spot lacks the innocent charm of the campaign’s earlier work.


It feels a little more knowing and staged – especially when it comes to the so-called unsuspecting spectator reactions.


There isn’t quite the same sense of innocent authenticity.


But perhaps this is inevitable considering the success and reach of the previous three films mean that it must be hard to find basketball fans who aren’t familiar with Pepsi’s Uncle Drew.


This is most likely due to the fact that this is the fourth stunt in the series.


There are more basketball in-jokes that require some NBA history, so perhaps Chapter 4’s reach will be more about ‘fans’ rather than the ‘mass marketing’.


Although, as it promotes both the Limited Kyrie Irving X and Uncle Drew NIKE Kyrie 1′s as well as PepsiMax, this tighter targeting seems to fit the objectives.


Despite this, the new spot racked up more than 1.7 million YouTube views in its first 24 hours and after a week it had reached 4,340,335 views.


So it has certainly generated traction.


Although there is a long way to go to reach the same engagement levels as the previous films in the series.


After all, since it was launched three years ago, Chapter 1 has now clocked up an astonishing 41,493,627 YTB views (see case study).


The latest work also follows on from April’s announcement that PepsiCo has replaced Coca-Cola as the official food and drink partner of the NBA in a new five-year sponsorship.


The switch comes after Coca-Cola’s 28-year marketing partnership with the world’s top basketball league.


So this season sees PepsiCo replace Coke and become the official food and drinks partner of the NBA, the Women’s National Basketball Association, NBA Development League and USA Basketball.


Whilst it is Pepsi’s Mountain Dew brand that will primarily front the marketing tie-up (rather than Pepsi), the company will also use the partnership to promote a range of its 22-strong product stable – including Aquafina, Brisk teas, Doritos and Ruffles.


The sponsorship took effect from 1 July and focuses on North America and China.


The move also saw Pepsi complete its dominant partnership status in the USA with sponsorships of NFL, MLB, NHL and now the NBA.


‘The fit is a natural one and we see it as a perfect way to target male multicultural millennials,’ said PepsiCo post deal.




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