Some staged 'reality' ads are smart and some that pretend to be movie trailers aren't. But Pepsi announced its new coup yesterday: a mashup in which a faked reality commercial becomes a movie.

You may remember the Uncle Drew character, played by Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving in heavy makeup. He first appeared almost six years ago as the old man who would surprise people with his moves in pick-up games.

There were a number of other full episodes of Uncle Drew and then some shorter spots that filled in. That's not the longevity or success of Geico's Gecko, which premiered in 1999, or even Progressive Insurance's Flo character, around since 2008. (And why is it that two insurance companies have had some of the most clever ad campaigns you could find?)

But Uncle Drew is polished and entertaining marketing. And given how long Pepsi has used the character to push its Pepsi Max/Pepsi Zero Sugar drink, it's probably successful as well (and a darned site smarter than the Kendall Jenner ad the company ran).

Now it's time for something new: a movie starring Uncle Drew and a crew of other notables, as AdAge tallied:

The film stars Irving, along with NBA greats Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber and Reggie Miller, plus Nate Robinson, a former NBA player who spent time with teams including the Knicks, Celtics and Bulls. Former WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie is also in the movie, along with actors Milton "Lil Rel" Howery and Tiffany Haddish.

The concept is that someone talks Drew into taking to the court one last time and bring his old team along for a streetball tournament. So, it's like the Blues Brothers pulling together their old band for that final bttle. Except with a lot of basketball players instead of musicians. In another way, you might compared it to the 1996 movie Space Jam with Michael Jordan.

In this case, you can't expect the comedic talents of a John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd or the juxtaposition of Jordan being Jordan and a host of Looney Tunes characters.

But does Pepsi care? Nah. Why should it? This is a big win for its Creators League business unit, formed a couple of years ago to develop all sorts of material: reality television, scripted TV, music, and, yes, movies.

There will be money coming in and you already know the company's logos will appear in Uncle Drew. Because what's basketball without corporate logos?

One potential problem. This is the same business unit responsible for the Kendall Jenner ad. Let's just hope they can quickly learn from their mistakes.

Published on: Feb 15, 2018