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“SNL,” Pepsi Blur The Line Between Ad And Sketch

For the first time that I can remember, Saturday Night Live featured a commercial that I thought was a comedy sketch.  Lat night’s installment of the late night comedy franchise, hosted by 15 time (!!) guest host Steve Martin, featured a trio of commercials for Pepsi, starring Will Forte’s character MacGruber. MacGruber,  a MacGyver knockoff, was joined by costar Kirsten Wiig and Richard Dean Anderson, reprising his role as MacGyver.

The first MacGruber/Pepsi ad aired after Martin’s monologue and a forgettable fake commercial:

Notice that the voiceover and intro are exactly as the real sketch. In fact, the Pepsi references were fleeting enough that I thought it was part of the joke.

Until the second ad appeared a little later:

This made it clear that indeed, this was a Pepsi ad. A funny Pepsi ad, but still paid commercial time. Nice try, Pepsuber. It is refreshing (pun intended) that the writers of the ads are able to poke fun at themselves, as made clear in the final MacGruber/Pepsi spot for the evening:

Indeed, Richard Dean Anderson. MacGruber is a sell out. But at least he was funny in so doing.

Now, NBC has been aggressive in incorporating advertisers into their programs. The new drama series Kings will incorporate themes from an insurance companies advertising campaign into the plotline, and of course the Christian Slater series My Own Worst Enemy had the support of a large automotive company. But as far as I can tell, this is the first time that brand integration has been utilized so effectively in a sketch comedy show.

Yeah, late night talkers have been trying live commercials, and 30 Rock writes some products into the series, but has anyone seen integration like SNL did with MacGruber and Pepsi?

Let me know in the comments.