NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo is once again learning the risks of celebrity partnerships after an ad for Mountain Dew was criticized for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence toward women.

The soda and snack food company said it immediately pulled the 60-second spot after learning that people found it was offensive. The ad was part of a series developed by African-American rapper Tyler, The Creator, and depicted a battered white woman on crutches being urged to identify a suspect out of a lineup of black men.

A goat character known as Felicia is included in the lineup and makes threatening comments to the woman, such as “Ya better not snitch on a playa” and “Keep ya mouth shut.”

The woman eventually screams “I can’t do this, no no no!” and runs away. The word “do” is in apparent reference to the soft drink’s “Dew It” slogan.

Mountain Dew, known for its neon color and high caffeine content, is generally marketed to younger men and sometimes attempts to have edgier ads. But the controversy over its latest spot illustrates the fine line that companies must walk when trying to be hip.

In fact, Mountain Dew also was criticized recently because of its endorsement deal with Lil Wayne, whose rap lyrics compared a rough sex act to the tortuous death of Emmett Till, a black teen who was murdered in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Last month, Reebok also ended its relationship with Rick Ross after he rapped about giving a woman a drug to have his way with her.

Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries, a marketing firm based in Atlanta, said companies that want the “street cred” of a celebrity may end up losing control of the message they want to convey.

If PepsiCo had created an ad for Mountain Dew, for example, she said it might not have been considered edgy or cool. But by handing over control to a celebrity, she said the company ran the risk of having an ad that wasn’t appropriate.

PepsiCo Inc., based in Purchase, N.Y., said it understood how the ad could be offensive.

“We apologize for this video and take full responsibility,” the company said in an updated statement late Wednesday afternoon. “We have removed it from all Mountain Dew channels and Tyler is removing it from his channels as well.”

Jen Ryan, a spokeswoman for PepsiCo, said the company learned from its consumer relations team on Tuesday that people found the ad offensive. She declined to explain the approval process for the ad but said it was never meant to run on TV.

A publicist for Tyler, the Creator did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. His raps have been criticized for being misogynistic and homophobic at times but he has also expressed support for the singer Frank Ocean, who revealed he was bisexual.

(Photo: AP)

Also On Black America Web:

4 thoughts on “PepsiCo Pulls Mountain Dew Ad After Criticism

  1. Why are people so upset about this commercial? Black people have been supporting and celebrating rappers for years. Jay Z has made millions by denigrating women. Lil Wayne was handily defended when criticized for a lack of civility toward the Till family in one of his raps. One rapper sold thousands of records after the accompanying video showed a woman having a credit card swiped down the crack of her ass was shown. When you create a monster, you can’t be mad when they turn around and scare the hell of you. Remember, a black man created this commercial. And those are not white men in black face starring in the commercial.

  2. First, what makes this company think that Rappers are in the position to think for most rational black people? Far from it. Secondly, how could they think these commercials were not offensive? Rappers are setting us back hundreds of years and it’s not good. I liked what rappers started with, but what we have today. Insults, disrespect for women and bragging. I don’t know about you, but I am not giving my money to someone who sings “Look at you, now look as us.” There would be no “:Us” without the “you.” How do we convince our children that this is not how they want to see the world. The world has a lot more to offer them? I wish “Lil Wayne and the rest of those “Freaks of Nature” would crawl back in their holes and never come out. Quick, cover that hole. 🙂

  3. The elders said it best, ” that fellow(Tyler the Creator) was not in his right mind when he created that ad.” Sure hope he did not spend the check he got from Pepsi in one place. Might want take out an ad in the classified section for some common sense.

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s