Pursuant to a large public outcry Pepsi have come out today and announced that they are all together discontinuing production of their current diet Pepsi can design in Arab states. The design according to many was tantamount to a denigration of the memory of those who perished in the 9-11 attacks in NYC, this despite the view by Pepsi that customers were effectively making a mountain out of a molehill.
When the outcry first surfaced on the facebook account of one user, Rolando Martinez, Mr Martinez over a number of hours received over 25 000 comments challenging Pepsi’s designs, with some commentators so inflamed that many began to accuse Pepsi of openly denigrating the memory of those who lost their lives during the 9-11 attacks and in effect callous and opportunistic.
Others argued that Pepsi had every incentive to suggest retaliation against the United States with the image of planes flying over vertical planes in order to induce loyalty with Arabic customers who one supposes are all anti American, if one accepts certain representations.
Pepsi for their part reaffirmed that they were maintaining the design and that in their estimation there had been a vast misunderstanding of what they had sought to portray( it was after all according to the website Snopes.com just a depiction of the Dubai skyline, incidentally where the cans are manufactured).
Other facebook users on the other hand actively supported Pepsi in their use of the plane design with one facebook user Molly Michael taking this line of thought:
Stop seeing what isn’t there. It’s like the supposed satanic symbols in Procter & Gamble’s old logo. Read a book or something.
Nevertheless under the continual barrage of ongoing complaints Pepsi today has stated that they have discontinued production of the cans. Which raises the following questions, if one is free to represent their business interests as they see fit, did it ever occur to executives at Pepsi that they risked offending a large sector of their customer base with images that may or may have not been construed as a replay of the 9-11 attacks on the twin towers? Then again if one is to be all together politically correct, Pepsi have every right to portray their products as they wish as much as customers have every right to distance themselves from those outlets that negate commonly understood notions of good taste.
Who could say, perhaps Pepsi wanted to make a political statement or just show off their creative flair, or perhaps a vast number of people were simply reading too much into things? Either way, Pepsi infuriated their customer base effectively forcing Pepsi to back down. Something one doesn’t see to often in commerce…
For those interested below is their new design: