I have been confused by the Sofia Vergara Diet Pepsi commercial since it first aired—not merely because it’s been forever since a celebrity endorsed Pepsi, right? (One remembers the Britney Spears commercials from the early 2000s, but since then, it’s been a long slog.) Or is Sofia Vergara even a celebrity?
The commercial presumes she is. Therein, a Tweet from the ABC sitcom star reading “At the pier… just saw #DavidBeckham!” clears an entire beach of girls searching for the British soccer star David Beckham, freeing Ms. Vergara to go buy a Diet Pepsi, unencumbered by David Beckham fans who happen to read her Twitter feed and/or subscribe to the hashtag “#DavidBeckham.” Which is everyone. Or no one!
Twitter is a medium that thrives on specificity—of nomenclature as well as location. The viewer is willing to accept that David Beckham has given his life away to being a hashtag (though a cursory Twitter search reveals that much of the “#DavidBeckham” activity refers back to this stupid Diet Pepsi commercial, in something of a self-fulfilling prophesy), but only the dopiest viewer would take as a given that a Twitter user can simply announce her presence by starting “At the pier.” What pier? Where? Celebrity or not, Sofia Vergara is nowhere near famous enough to have well-known pier preferences.
Thus, every girl in the commercial who runs off the beach at Sofia Vergara’s online announcement that she’s seen #DavidBeckham “at the pier” must be:
- (a) A celebrity stalked who followed Sofia Vergara to the pier, and following her on Twitter, thus realizing that Ms. Vergara went to the pier in question and saw a more famous celebrity there.
- (b) A random interloper who saw Sofia Vergara at the pier, noted that she was on Twitter, realized that Ms. Vergara had seen Mr. Beckham, and ran along with the crowd. (A question posed by (a) and (b), which presume the savviest audiences: where are these women running to? If the beach and pier were separate, presumably Diet Pepsi’s audience would see its dumb, laughable marks running towards some industrial edifice while Sofia Vergara sunbathed, but this is not the case. The women, alerted of David Beckham’s presence, merely run in a direction.)
- (c) Women who follow the #DavidBeckham hashtag and figure that any beach must play host to the “pier” at which David Beckham is located.
- (d) [Finally, most significantly] Women who read Twitter while on beach vacations.
That Sofia Vergara—for a moment—meets David Beckham is of little to no consequence. In this woman’s real (non-commercial) life, she has surely met stars of even greater wattage. This commercial, though, begs us to believe that Ms. Vergara is as stymied by celebrity as the rest of us dumb schmoes, while also asking us to swallow the notion that a C-list (maybe? the lists are so confusing!) star could stir up a beachwide rebellion. Either she’s a major, beach-riot-worthy megastar, or she’s embarrassed by attention, Pepsi—there’s no splitting the difference. All this despite the fact that the real Sofia Vergara has an un-commercially-describable humble/braggy Twitter that splits the difference between fan engagement and self-indulgence better than an ad exec’s notion ever could.