By Barry Janoff
February 16, 2017: Some people know him as Kyrie Irving, basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, All-Star, NBA champion.
But when historians look back, they will see his true identity: Uncle Drew.
The beloved, albeit fictional, character is getting new multi-media support from its creator, Pepsi, which since has developed a storyline about the lovable neighborhood character who knows a lot about basketball and knows a lot of people who strangely resemble basketball players and legends.
This week, to tie-in with Irving’s appearance in the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, Pepsi has rolled out a new platform that includes TV, a dedicated Web site and a pop-up store on location.
Pepsi also shared the news that Uncle Drew would be coming to the big screen in a feature length film conceived, developed and produced by PepsiCo's in-house content creation arm, Creators League Studio.
A new spot, "All-Star Game," features former NBA player Baron Davis and writer/actor J.B. Smoove (Jerry Brooks), in which the trio, in character, sit in the neighborhood pizza parlor and discuss the upcoming game and NBA players.
Among those who have appeared as characters in the Uncle Drew saga are Bill Russell, Kevin Love, Ray Allen, Nate Robinson and Maya Moore.
The original video has received some 48 million views on YouTube since its release in 2012.
Irving is also involved as writer and creator.
"With fresh and exciting content, Pepsi will look to reignite the courtside excitement around Uncle Drew and continue its legacy of rewarding fans with fun, exciting and authentic moments in pop culture and sports," Aziel Rivers, director, Pepsi marketing, said in a statement. "With the availability of brand new Uncle Drew merchandise on UncleDrew.com, we are really able to show the evolution of the Uncle Drew brand which keeps fans connected at multiple touch points both on and off the screen."
The Web site features all of the Uncle Drew spots, merchandise and behind-the-scenes and other new content.
The pop-up location in New Orleans is modeled after Uncle Drew's pizza hangout and will feature Uncle Drew merchandise, player appearances, music from Peps partner iHeartMedia and giveaways.
According to Lou Arbetter, GM for Creators League Studio. "Today's consumers want to live the brand as much as consume it, and the tremendous success we've had with the Uncle Drew franchise is a perfect example of how we're building ecosystems around our flagship brands.
"Pepsi and Kyrie Irving are looking forward to expanding the Uncle Drew universe. We are excited for the recent launches of both UncleDrew.com and a corresponding merchandise line, and can confirm there are plans to feature Uncle Drew in a feature length film," said Arbetter.
Back to Home Page