Pepsi, my new favourite brand at which to lob grenades, (sorry Microsoft), has released a new spot charting the evolution of their product as it travels through the generations of Americans. The point, clearly, is to show that Pepsi endures — it transcends generations, trends, music, fashion, or politics. And to be fair, the spot is pretty well done — not over-the-top of corny in any way.

Pepsi “Pass”

Here’s the trouble, it’s been done before.

Most recently, Macy’s launched a holiday campaign featuring some of the most famous mentions of Macy’s in television and film. Similarly to Pepsi, Macy’s are reinforcing their role as a part of American consumerist culture, impervious to time.

Macy’s through the ages

And not too long ago, British bread-maker Hovis released a 2-minute mini-movie about a boy’s journey from Victorian Liverpool to the kitchen of today’s households. And he took Hovis with him.

Hovis “Forever England”

But Pepsi’s new spot is perhaps most baffling this time-traveling technique is one that they themselves employed in the not-so-forgotten past. Starting with a Britney Spears remake of the 1958 campaign, Pepsi charts the evolution of their own advertising in this spot which debuted at the Super Bowl … in 2004 I believe.

Pepsi “Now and Then”

So while time-traveling ads may tug at the emotional heart-strings, and evoke that sense of national nostalgia, it seems to me a bit of a copout — if you can’t think of anything new, just say how old you are. Reliability and trust have a certain amount to do with heritage, true, but when it comes to sugar-water, what have you done for me lately?