Official Response from Pepsi-Cola Company:
Pepsi-Cola Company wants to assure you that there’s absolutely no Pepsi advertisement in circulation that even remotely resembles the creative in question. After investigating this matter further, we learned that an advertising agency developed this print ad on “speculation” and it inadvertently made its way to the internet.
Please know that we would never use this type of imagery to sell our products. We are not using this image now, nor do we have any plans to use it in the future.
We’re sincerely sorry that this has upset you and we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to set the record straight. If anyone following this topic would like to discuss this issue further, free to contact me at the email address listed below.
I followed up with Bart to verify that this is in fact an official statement. In his response to my email, Bart also expressed his respect and understanding for our offense at the ad and assured me that Pepsi would never choose to market their brand in this manner.
I for one certainly appreciate that Pepsi took the time to look into this, and that their response not only denied but also denounced this advertisement. I think it’s very important for them to do so when these ads have been gaining traction in advertising circles (where I myself looked in attempt to validate them) as legitimate. The company may not have created the ad, but their branding is still on it; for that reason they needed come out against the values perpetuated in the image. And I very much hope that Pepsi will not be using the advertising agency that created this ad in the future.
As for the ad itself . . . I think that this whole thing has been a rather interesting if not particularly surprising experiment in rape apologism. I spent the weekend wading through, deleting and occassionally responding to large volumes of troll comments on two different blogs. In those comments, I was called everything under the sun and the outrage that many of us felt upon seeing this ad was harshly mocked. The complaint from every single one of these people was not that the ad was illegitimate, but that there was nothing wrong with it. That response coupled with the fact that advertising promoting non-consensual sexual behavior is indeed very real says a lot about what I orginally declared the issue to be — rape culture. The ad is fake; rape culture is not. While fully acknowledging and regretting the error here, I think it’s important to remember that.