Pepsi Max recruits Messi, Pogba, Salah and Sterling for Champions League campaign

Pepsi Max: Sterling, Messi, Salah and Pogba
Pepsi Max: Sterling, Messi, Salah and Pogba

Footballers star in ad from director of Vossi Bop.

Pepsi Max has recruited four of the world’s top footballers for a frenetic ad campaign that marks the start of the Uefa Champions League knockout stages.

Created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, "Play never stops" features Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Mo Salah and Raheem Stirling in a rapidly shifting sequence of scenes and backdrops, set to Presidente by Wost featuring Ginette Claudette.

It was created by David Westland and Jeremy Tribe, and directed by Henry Scholfield through Caviar. The media agency is OMD. 

The campaign will run in more than 80 countries and also comprises out-of-home ads, point of sale materials, behind-the-scenes content and limited-edition cans featuring the players. The cans also include QR codes that can be used to unlock mini-augmented-reality versions of the players and a keepy-uppy game.

Natalia Filippociants, vice-president, marketing, global beverages, at PepsiCo, said: "We’ve taken some of the best football players, incorporated their cultural influences off the pitch and put them in unconventional situations with unexpected twists and turns, with plenty of laughter and swagger. Our aim was to play with the energy of the ad and to entertain people, rather than show people being entertained."

Scholfield is best known for his work on music videos including Stormzy’s Vossi Bop and Camila Cabello’s Shameless

"It was a privilege to work with such superstar players on this year’s Pepsi Max football ad," he said. "Each delivered an excellently accentuated version of their off-the-pitch personality to the spot, as naturally and skillfully as they would on the field."

In a Guardian ranking in December 2019 of the world’s 100 best male footballers, Messi, Salah and Sterling all made the top 10, at numbers one, five and eight respectively, with the top five completed by Salah’s Liverpool teammates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mané, as well as Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo. Pogba, a World Cup champion with France, ranked lower at 55, although he has arguably been held back by his underperforming Manchester United side.

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