Sofia Vergara’s Diet Pepsi Commercials Misunderstand the Internet

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. TC mark

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  • Drea

    im sorry this is really pointless

    • Customconcern

      I bet you're one of those people who say things like 'if you want a liberal arts education, go to the library'.

  • http://twitter.com/stillgray Ian Miles Cheong

    Nice writing exercise. I applaud your effort.

  • As

    there's also the “add location” option on tweets

  • Mariah

    What a thrilling observation this article is.

  • http://twitter.com/jessegrn Jesse Green

    add 're' in a few places and tao wrote this.

  • FJOSEF

    “The viewer is willing to accept that David Beckham has given his life away to being a hashtag”

    what?

  • chelseafagan

    Pretty sure writing an entire article picking this apart is exactly what Pepsi would have wanted. On that note, I could go for one right now.

    • http://twitter.com/rhodeislander rhodeislander

      What is this “Pepsi” thing everyone keeps mentioning? I don't think they have enough brand awareness, or something.

  • http://twitter.com/KrystalAGuerra Krystal Guerra

    Like someone said, Twitter has an add location feature, so saying simply the pier could work, especially from a mobile device.

  • Sublime4390116

    I guess if you don't watch any TV you wouldn't know who Sophia Vergara is, but since the article is written about a commercial on TV, that would lead me to assume that the author does, in fact, watch said TV. Nice try, but maybe you could pick apart the E-Trade Baby commercials. I've never seen a baby use a smartphone before….

  • http://twitter.com/Revulu Revulú

    Guy, it's a thirty-second spot for a soft drink, not Battleship Potemkin. Its meant to be broad.

    Chill with the semiotic autopsy.

    • Sofia

      battleship potemkin???? who are you, film scholar dan hoffman?

      • Woahthere

        hey back off. i have an internet crush on dan hoffman.

      • youshouldbeashamed

        digusting

  • EmiliaBedelia

    But this is what happens on Gossip Girl every week. You must not watch Gossip Girl. Shame on you. It is the best show in television.

  • Friendly

    i think if you had elaborated on the implications of the fact that advertisers don't real “get” social networking and the internet in general, this would have been a more successful article. I see what you're getting at here, but you don't take the idea as far as you should, which is likely why some of your readers think that your article is “pointless.”

    i mostly liked it though; good job

  • http://twitter.com/joshliburdi Josh Liburdi

    sort of reminds me of every movie/ tv show/ whatever where they show kids/ adults/ humans playing video games and none of it syncs correctly. they're playing Mario on Playstation, SNES with N64 paddles or using a controller that isn't plugged into anything.

  • Susie Q.

    her boobs looked great though

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      ALL THE TIME.

    • Joe N

      And don't forget, her butt looked great too

  • AaronWB

    I agree, following Sofia Vergara on twitter is completely exhausting. Yesterday I had to leave work and run to a Quiznos because she said she spotted Danny DeVito there, but it turns out she was talking about the L.A. Quiznos and I don't live in L.A.

  • Guest

    Um, sorry, but I thought this was a pretty decent commercial, and I think most commercials are terrible… Being as you can tag a specific location as “the pier”, the only “problem” I see here with this “huge” misunderstanding of teh internets, is that EVERYONE's phone buzzes, which would have to mean EVERYONE in the crowd followed either Vergara or Beckham (which correctly is totally unrealistic). In other words, you can replace this ENTIRE article with “one or two people's phones should have buzzed and word should have spread through the crowd, that would have made it more realistic/would have made me less angry with Pepsi?” Sweet.

  • Margarita

    i agree with this article i think all pepsi commercials should adhere to the dogme 95 aesthetic or be filmed by frederick wiseman

  • Case

    oh wait this is the kid who wrote that dipshit article about larry sanders

  • ricky sccchitliyz

    this article really sucks wow wtf

  • faith

    well. piers aren't at every beach . if say she is a a beah down from Street A and the pier is down from Street C the women indeed will have to run in “a direction” to get to the pier

  • Ganjaman1010

    he's right, it doesn't make any sense.

    you guys are so hostile. does it make anyone feel better to disparage this guy's writing?

    no need to be mean

  • Fuzzy Logic

    She is on the (apparently unknown to the writer) show Modern Family. She was also a Latina star before she transitioned to American television. It is apparent that 1) this writer doesn't know twitter well and 2) he doesn't watch much television outside of commercials and sports.

    Of course, I agree that David Beckham isn't the biggest star, but at the same time, many women hear his name and react.

  • LarryMarx

    The only thing I can say is:  ¡Muy caliente!  I’m in Love  :-) 

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