You better shape up if you want to impress Doja Cat, cause her heart is set on a new Pepsi soda. The singer and rapper was announced as the newest Pepsi ambassador Friday, with a new campaign celebrating the launch of the Pepsi-Cola Soda Shop, a modern take on classic soda shop flavors (think Cream Soda and Black Cherry).
As part of the nostalgia-tinged campaign, Doja stars in a new commercial that pays homage to the musical Grease, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Doja also recorded a new version of “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease, giving the doo-wop track a decidedly slicker, uptempo R&B feel.
Doja says it was an “insane” honor to be chosen as the new face of Pepsi. “It was such a huge part of my childhood to watch TV and watch all the commercials, and the Pepsi ones were always so major and really stuck with me,” she tells Rolling Stone. “This is such an amazing opportunity and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.”
Directed by Hannah Lux Davis (who also directed Doja’s “Say So” music video) and choreographed by Sean Bankhead, the Grease-inspired commercial was shot in Los Angeles earlier this summer, with Doja assuming the role of “Bad Sandy” (replete with a glittered-out black leather jacket, natch). “I watched Grease a lot when I was little, and I always connected the most with ‘Bad Sandy,’” she says with a laugh.
Getting to record her own version of “You’re the One That I Want” was also a big draw for the singer, who teases that she might head back into the studio to record a full-length version of the track (“The producer that I worked with is begging me to finish it,” she says). “I loved how we modernized the song and made it fresh,” she says. “The song was actually very hard vocally for me [to record],” she confesses. “There are a lot of chord changes in the song and it’s more complex than what you hear today but I was happy to be a part of something so musically considered.”
And while the singing and dancing came naturally to Doja, the performer says it took a couple takes to get the product placement right. “It was very interesting learning how to drink a Pepsi on camera,” she says, half-jokingly. “You have to tilt the can a certain way; you can do only two gulps or there’s only time for one gulp. And, you know, perfectly placing my fingers on the can was so meticulous and carefully thought through. But props to the Pepsi team for making it easy for me,” she says.
Doja Cat follows in the footsteps of artists like Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Beyonce, who have all appeared in Pepsi campaigns at one point or another in their careers. Doja calls it an “unbelievable” honor to now be included on the list. “I remember that iconic Britney and Beyonce commercial, and it’s just crazy that they approached me for this [new campaign],” she says. “I feel like it really means something when you are cast for this,” she continues, “and even though I can’t see myself in the same echelon as these real, experienced, effing seasoned women, I’m just very happy that I got this opportunity.”
The new Pepsi commercial will get its TV debut at this weekend’s 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, which Doja is hosting. Doja is also up for five VMAs this year, including Artist of the Year, and Video of the Year for her hit single, “Kiss Me More” with SZA.
The limited-edition Pepsi-Cola Soda Shop flavors, meantime, will be available to purchase online beginning September 20. Available in 20 oz. bottles and 12 oz. cans, Pepsi says the Soda Shop collection will be a seasonal addition to the growing roster of Pepsi offerings anywhere Pepsi products are sold.
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