Debate Rages Over Pepsi Skinny Can Ad

Sofia Vergara, the voluptuous star of the TV show Modern Family, is the face of Diet Pepsi’s new Skinny Can. Actually, it’s just the small portion of her face you can see poking out from behind a floppy blue hat. Still, the ads and their choice of spokesperson are getting hit with tons of criticism.

Adrants quotes Pepsi’s CMO Jill Beraud who says: “Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today’s most stylish looks, and we’re excited to throw its coming-out party during the biggest celebration of innovative design in the world.”

In the same story, the National Eating Disorders Association is quoted calling Pepsi’s comments “thoughtless and irresponsible.”

Adrants, Jezebel, and Celebuzz all say Vergara looks photoshopped to hide her curves. But Jezebel hits it on the head asking why the company would want to bring on a spokesperson who is known for curves if you’re going with “skinny” as your look.

To be sure, audiences, particularly female ones, are sensitive to body image and the ways women are portrayed in marketing, fashion, and other arenas. And you would have to be blind to the rejoicing over the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty” or the celebration of Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks, which all convey the different ways women look (and look fabulous). We don’t know if this conversation played a role in Pepsi’s planning, but it should have.

If you follow us on Twitter (and you should! @PRNewser), you saw a few snapshots we took from the Diet Pepsi party last Friday to celebrate this new can and a collaboration with Simon Doonan. We didn’t notice anything offensive there; the models were really made to look like women from 1950s advertising with the hairstyles being the big standout. There was nothing that said women should be a certain way.

Here it seems Pepsi just chose the wrong spokesperson. Back in November, we spoke with Limelight Media about choosing the appropriate spokesperson for a cause. A brand needs to be sure they’re doing the same.

[Image via Celebuzz.]