Carrie Bradshaw and Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski walk into a bar. Sounds like the start of a joke. It’s actually the setup for a very funny Super Bowl ad.
Celebrities in ads are common on Super Sunday — celebrities in the personae of their best-known characters far less so. Here Sarah Jessica Parker arrives at a fancy bar playing Carrie from “Sex in the City.” Then Jeff Bridges wanders in as The Dude from “The Big Lebowski.” And it’s all in service to an ad for Stella Artois.
Carrie and Lebowski are well known by what they drink — Cosmopolitan for her, White Russian for him — but when she instead orders a Stella, hilarity ensues. Eyebrows rise. Waiters crash. Plates break. Enter The Dude, who sidles up to the bar and orders something he pronounces as Stella Ar-toes, prompting more shock and awe-tois.
Carrie taps The Dude’s arm — their worlds colliding, like the waiters and barkeeps bollixed by their orders — and she says, “Good choice.” He answers, “Well, changing can do a little good.”
Wait, The Dude is shilling for beer on the Super Bowl? Can fans of his cult classic of a movie abide a sellout?
Fear not. The ad is titled “Change Up the Usual” and it promotes the brand’s “Pour It Forward” campaign with Water.org, where sales of Stella Artois trigger donations for access to clean water for people in the developing world.
“At his core, El Duderino would want to do the right thing,” Bridges said in a statement. “Especially when it’s as easy as ordering a Stella.”
Besides, the Coen Brothers, who made The Big Lebowski, made a Super Bowl ad themselves in 2017, a spoof of Easy Rider. The ad, like the counterculture movie, starred Peter Fonda, who morphed from shaggy antihero in the flick to luxury-car flack in the funny ad.
Parker, for her part, called making the Stella ad “a joyful experience … bringing Carrie back for a good and important cause.”
Bridges caused a stir last week when he tweeted a 15-second clip of himself as El Duderino. Speculation swelled that maybe it meant a movie sequel was in the works. As of Sunday, the tweet had more than 10 million views; it was really a clip from the ad.
“What better time to bring him back,” Bridges said, “than to help change the lives of people living without access to water simply by switching up your order? … That’s something The Dude would abide, man.”