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BBDO Airs "Suicide" Ads for Pepsi Max

pepsi_max_3.jpgPepsiCo announced a new global CMO, Jill Beraud, formerly the CMO at Victoria's Secret. Her first job will be to decide whether BBDO Dusseldorf's new suicide-themed Pepsi Max ads should be pulled. The ads show a blue, bean-shaped character simultaneously shooting himself in the head, with a noose round his neck, and poison in his other hand. The bean is supposed to be "one very very very lonely calorie."

UPDATE -- Pepsi has apologized for the ad -- on Twitter! Suicide ads have generally landed agencies and marketers in hot water. In 2007, GM was chided by anti-suicide groups for an ad which showed a factory robot trying to off itself. And Volkswagen pulled an ad in which a man tried to jump off a roof.bod3.jpg As Ad Age's readers have already started pointing out in their comments, the posters look like a PR stunt to get the brand and its one-calorie theme mentioned on talk shows and -- sigh -- blogs. It had better work out that way. BBDO's position on Pepsi is increasingly shaky. It just lost the main Pepsi account in the U.S. to TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Above: Beraud

Side note: If you like tasteless advertising, nothing tops Dolce & Gabbana's "gang rape" ad from 2007. The company did not pull the ad.