Janelle Monae Time Travels With Pepsi In Super Bowl Ad

Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Pepsi
Pepsi Super Bowl 50 TV Commercial Starring Janelle Monae at Santa Clarita Studios on Jan. 13, 2016 in Santa Clarita, California. 

Janelle Monae takes viewers on a colorful and energetic journey through time in Pepsi’s new Super Bowl ad, "The Joy of Dance," which Pepsi broke nationally this morning (Feb. 4).

Created by The Marketing Arm/Davie Brown Entertainment (DBE) and directed by Samuel Bayer, the spot also marks the singer’s first major commercial for Pepsi. The most recent Pepsi Super Bowl spot featuring talent was the company’s crowd-sourced ad around Beyoncé’s 2013 halftime show performance.

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Busting moves a la James Brown and Michael Jackson along the way, Monae -- surrounded by a gyrating crew of dancers -- jumps back to the ‘60s then springs forward to the ‘80s before spinning ahead to present day. Paralleling the commercial’s dance flashbacks: a quick chronicle of Pepsi’s evolving logo over the years. The spot was shot during a two-day session outside of Los Angeles at Santa Clarita Studios near Magic Mountain.

“One of the things I love is that I had major input in the creative,” Monae told Billboard on the second day of the shoot. “I consider myself a time traveler, so I was excited when they told me we’d be time traveling. It’s about the joy of dance and has some nostalgic moments. The last portion of the commercial is my own reinterpretation of Pepsi’s ‘The Joy of Cola’ [a campaign originally launched in 1999]. I pray people are inspired by this commercial, especially young, aspiring artists and females.”

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This isn’t the first time that Pepsi and Monae have worked together. She was featured in the digital spot “Music in the Streets” as part of Pepsi’s 2014 summer campaign. Monae also recorded an exclusive track for the global Pepsi album Beats of the Beautiful Game, covering David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

Super Bowl 50