She Will Rock You: Rewinding Beyonce's Best Pepsi Commercials
Beyoncé stunned viewers with two of the most mindblowing Super Bowl halftime show performances in recent history, but her ties to the production’s sponsor, Pepsi, go way deeper than the big game.
The partnership between Queen B and the behemoth soda brand -- who tapped Cardi B for their latest campaign, which premieres during the Super Bowl broadcast on Sunday (Feb. 3) -- is a lucrative one that kicked off alongside her solo career. Pepsi has turned to musicians time and time again for their Super Bowl advertisements, but Beyoncé’s work with the brand stands out as her most notable commercials correspond with the pivotal moments (and in some cases, the most iconic music videos) of her career.
Below, Billboard revisits Beyoncé’s memorable Pepsi endorsements, from her turn as a soda-swilling hip-hopera diva to her past-shattering “Grown Woman” moment.
Just before the the release of Beyoncé’s solo debut, Dangerously in Love, she starred in MTV’s Carmen: A Hip-Hopera, which put a millennial spin on the classic, tragic work penned by George Bizet. A TV spot inspired by the made-for-TV movie followed in 2002, in which Pepsi revived Beyoncé’s Carmen portrayal. Red flower in her flowing curls and all, Bey, before a cheesy Times Square backdrop, belted her way through a variation on the opera’s “Habanera,” rewritten as an ode to the soft drink.
The Carmen clip would go on to run during the broadcast of Super Bowl XXXVI. Another commercial -- one capitalizing on Beyoncé’s might as a pop diva gaining standalone steam -- would shortly follow.
In 2003, Pepsi released a short that starring Beyoncé, luminously low-key in her jean shorts and waist-grazing, honey hair. She drives up to a gas station and leaves an attendant dumbstruck when she grabs a Pepsi from a vending machine and asks him for directions.
The song blasting in the background was “Crazy in Love,” her breakout solo single, and Beyoncé’s aesthetic in the commercial throws to that track's iconic video, where as she rocks cut-offs and long, flowing hair. With that flash of denim and a megawatt smile, Beyoncé drew a direct line between her first big music video as a solo artist and her first major endorsement that truly banked on her star power.
From there, the Pepsi productions grew more ambitious -- and even more stacked on the star-power front. Beyoncé, Britney Spears and P!nk teamed up for an epic commercial in 2004 that had the three pop stars suiting up in Roman armor and squaring off in the city’s ancient Coliseum. Instead of throwing down the gauntlet for Emperor Enrique Iglesias’ entertainment, they lead the arena in a stomp-along chorus of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez joined forces for another cinematic short in 2005, one that put a smoldering spin on martial arts, espionage and intrigue (not unlike Quentin Tarantino’s first Kill Bill film, whose sequel hit theaters the year before this commercial made the airwaves).
The action-packed vignette fell in line with Beyoncé’s growing Hollywood ambitions: she had already starred in Austin Powers: Goldmember by that point, but 2006 would see her join the casts of The Pink Panther and Dreamgirls, and she’d go on to nail marquee roles in 2008’s Cadillac Records (in which she played Etta James) and 2009’s thriller Obsessed.
Beyoncé’s next Pepsi triumph wouldn’t come until 2013, a full decade after the launch of her solo career and that now-legendary strut to the station vending machine. In 2012, Beyoncé inked a $50 million deal with Pepsi that involved promotional efforts around the Super Bowl XLVIII broadcast, which of course included her first halftime show performance (as well as that unforgettable Destiny's Child reunion).
If the “Crazy in Love” spot featured a rising star, the 2013 Super Bowl commercial was a celebration of that ascent. With “Grown Woman” blasting in the background, Beyoncé stared down several of her former selves in a studio mirror -- from her “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” “Bootylicious” and “Crazy in Love” videos and more -- before the reflections shatter and she’s left alone with her Pepsi. Jake Nava, who helmed this ad, directed “Single Ladies” and many of Beyoncé’s music videos -- including a few from Beyoncé, the game-changing visual album that she would surprise-release at the end of 2013, following her incredible halftime show.