How We Came to Love Branded Movies


They made an entire movie based off of Pepsi commercials.

I’m of course referring to Uncle Drew — arguably pronounced and spelled “UNCLE Dreeeeeeeeeewwww” — a summer comedy that expands Kyrie Irving’s characterization of an aging, yet agile, blacktop baller from the Pepsi Max television spots that started up in 2012.

At first, a movie based on soda ads sounds peculiar, but it’s not all that surprising. We’ve always had some taste for the familiar. Hollywood has been putting out adaptations since the first cameras rolled, and remakes and reboots have enjoyed a legacy approach since. Plus, let’s not forget that the basketball blockbuster Space Jam was preceded by Nike commercials of Michael “Air Jordan” Jordan and Bugs “Hare Jordan” Bunny.

Hell, before that, Ernest P. Worrell — the same Ernest who went to camp, jail, school, and Africa — became a franchise after beginning as a relatable local character for TV ads around Nashville. Some commercial characters flourish and simply stick to the small screen. You may recall the talking baby pitching free internet that became Baby Bob on CBS or the ancestral interlopers responsible for saving 15% or more on car insurance that became Cavemen on ABC.