An American Tradition
For generations, the Superbowl has been a tradition in American sports and media broadcasting. On Superbowl Sunday, millions of Americans throughout the nation gather in the tens of thousands for watch parties, family gatherings, and barbeques in a celebration of all American indulgences like hot dogs, soda, and flatscreen TVs. The 56th iteration of the NFL finals is expected to have massive viewership, like in recent years, over 100 million tuned in to see the gridiron pastime. But for the countless viewers who don’t follow the sport closely, the cutting-edge, creative, and downright amusing Superbowl commercials for the duration of the game are themselves a feast for the eyes.
Ingrained in American Minds
Some Superbowl commercials became ingrained in American minds, one of the most memorable being Cindy Crawford’s early 1990s Pepsi Ad. The minute-long commercial, which showed supermodel Crawford stopping at a remote gas station for a can of Pepsi, captured a special moment in the brand’s history. The ad seized the energy of the 1990s through glamour, grit, and Crawford’s denim shorts, white top, and stunning beauty, it made huge waves on the decade after it was aired.
Recreating the 1992 Ad
In 2021, photographer David Yarrow, renowned for his striking pictures that combine the raw vitality of wildlife, the American West, and classic Western filmmaking, collaborated with Crawford to recreate the 1992 ad as a photo session. Proceeds from the sale of the finished photograph raised funds for the American Family’s Children’s Hospital in Madison, WI (Cindy Crawford’s brother had been treated for Leukemia at this hospital). Once more, Crawford’s dazzling persona radiates through the picture, wearing the clothes that made the original so enduring. Now, with Yarrow’s mastery at making captivating images, the viewer gets the best of both worlds.
“Joe Pytka’s 1992 Pepsi Ad with Cindy Crawford is iconic; indeed, it is probably one of the most celebrated commercials of all time. So much so that there have been many retakes and parodies. As we all know, it featured a 26-year-old Crawford pulling up to the Halfway Café in a red sports car wearing a white tank top and jean shorts. Two young boys stare as the supermodel buys a Pepsi from a vending machine and drinks it down.
For some time, I had yearned to do my own interpretation of the advert with a still photograph, and I secured Cindy’s involvement, who in turn secured Pepsi’s approval (given the implicit tribute, why would Pepsi say “no”?). The Halfway House has not changed at all from 1992, and neither really has Cindy. The rest of the props were easy to replicate.
The issue was the two boys who were never in the same frame as Cindy in the advert and would be even harder to acknowledge or incorporate into one photograph whilst maintaining the narrative. The idea I went along with was to use wolves instead – that way, I could introduce a new angle without losing the integrity of the adaptation.
I wanted the supposed wolves to be looking keenly towards Cindy, and the only way that could work in my set was to have them approaching her from behind. Since the roof was down in the car, it made sense for them to have stealthily sneaked into the back seats whilst she went about her business. There is the necessary hunger and yearning in their disposition.
Cindy looks fabulous and makes the image which we all agreed had to be in colour. I must make mention of Peter Savic – the legendary hairstylist who worked with Cindy on the original commercial. How lucky am I that 29 years later, he came back to the Halfway House for the reunion and styled Cindy’s hair again?”
DYP would like to make it clear that the “wolf” in the image is actually a domesticated Tamaskan dog – which has similar facial characteristics to Wolves.