Twitter user Christine Lu wrote a long series of angry tweets about how her own family had been impacted by suicide, according to ZDNet. Sample post:
pepsi: you want to push the envelope? try something that doesn't remind me of my sister killing herself a month after her own wedding.Huw Gilbert, Senior Manager for Communications at Pepsico, posted these replies:
@christinelu Huw from Pepsi here. We agree this creative is totally inappropriate; we apologize and please know it won't run again. #pepsi
@christinelu @huwgilbert posted our response. My best friend committed suicide - this is a topic very close to my heart. My deepest apologies.Christine replied, but noted that BBDO was nowhere to be seen on the issue:
Thank you to @boughb and @huwgilbert for having the guts to get on Twitter on behalf of Pepsi and give us an update on the suicide ad
No thanks to @bbdo who has zero comment on why they thought suicide by slashing wrists, hanging and bullet through head was good for #pepsi
The episode is reminiscent of Johnson & Johnson's apology and retraction of its Motrin Moms ad, which suggested that trendy baby slings could hurt your back and neck. Twittering moms went berserk over the ad and the company eventually pulled it and recanted.
(BNET's take: In hindsight, was the Motrin Moms ad really all that offensive? Nope. Corporate Twitter apologies are a fad because most advertisers are afraid of a technology they don't yet fully understand. The really interesting bit will be when a company gets on Twitter and defends its ads in the face of criticism.)