Pepsi ad pulled due to Asian tsunami

A planned ad for Pepsi, with David Beckham, Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry among others has been delayed indefinitely following the the tsunamis in Asia. Teaser press releases about the ad sent out to Norwegian trade press the 21st of December with a reminder sent only a few hours before the real world tsunami happened contained images of the football heroes posing in front of a giant wave. "If we had a crystal ball we would never have sent out these images" said Lene Gjestad, Pepsi marketing Director in Norway to Verdens Gang. "The image was taken from the commercial which has a surfing theme, and was meant to be humorous, but looks frightening now after the disaster."

International Herald Tribune has more.

Pepsi had scheduled a glitzy promotional event in Madrid for Jan. 17 to introduce the ad, the latest in a celebrity-studded campaign employing Beckham, the English soccer star who plays for Real Madrid, and other athletes and entertainers.

"In light of the recent tragedy in Asia, we at PepsiCo International have taken the decision to put our 2005 surf-themed football campaign on hold for the foreseeable future," the company said in a statement

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Dabitch's picture

Hey look kids, CNN Money picked it up. Pepsi halts wave-themed ad campaign and guess who gets picture credit? Do we feel famous? No? Drats.

"In light of the tragedy in South Asia, we elected to put on hold a surf-themed soccer advertising campaign," said PepsiCo International spokesman Dick Detwiler. The campaign was set to run in Europe, Asia and other countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Sport's picture

oooooooh.. fun! Can I say hi to my broker? Hi MOM!

Joking aside, they had to delay and perhaps even scrap this ad altogether now, it's the wise thing to do. The backlash would have been terrible had it run.

Neo's picture

They simply had to pull the campaign. It is The Right Thing To Do(TM).
The backlash would have been as big and damaging the the brand as the wave was to Asia.

caffeinegoddess's picture

Also, the Canadian arm of Toyota has dropped "Tsunami" name for thier sporty version of the Celica. The name was first announced Jan 2004. They have now changed the name to "Celica Sports Package."

Dabitch's picture

What an insane name in the first place - ever heard of a friendly tsunami?

Dabitch's picture

Wouldn't it have been great if they both pulled the ad and donated the media-budget to the red cross for tsunami relief?

Imagine the amount of goodwill they would have gotten out of that. Seems like a lost opportunity here. Nice try but no hand-rolled Cuban smoking material.

deeped's picture

No huff no puff.

kamari's picture

Great idea. Pepsi probably didn't expect the accidental goodwill as they pulled the ad, had they done what you said they could have gotten lots of goodwill. Amazing that nobody thought of it. Pepsi, hire this woman, she knows a trick or two.

Dabitch's picture reports that Steriogram culls 'Tsunami' song - "We've been talking about it for a while. I think we decided a few weeks ago that we're probably not going to go with (Tsunami). That was actually before the (tsunami)."

Kennedy said it would be stupid to cash in on the tsunami disaster and believed On and On would be the next release from the band.

He said Tsunami - a more commercial song than the rocky On and On - could be released as a single later in the year.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Those in the Uk / Ireland will know of the popular Welsh band "The Manic Street Preachers".
They had a chart release song with 'Tsunami' a few years back... I was listening to it on the way into work on their greatest hits.
They are on the line-up playing a huge benefit concert for victims in the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff later this month.
I wonder if any video producers for new reports thought about using the music over their reports....

James_Trickery's picture

Pepsi warns media over surf ad image - Adland is mentioned:

The company has warned that publishing the image infringes its copyright, even though the image was contained in a press release issued by PepsiCo in Norway
The Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, which ran the original story in response to the PepsiCo Norway release, has not removed the image from its website Nor has the advertising weblog adland, at, which also published the image.
Dabitch's picture
Sport's picture

Let me get this straight, they sent images out in a press release and now are threatening people who us it with legal action? Talk about killing the little goodwill buzz swiftly.

Dabitch's picture

Yeah you got that right sport. My guess is that they hadn't sent a release to the Daily Mail...?
They are donating funds though - from the Irish Examiner

The company has announced that it plans to donate $1 million towards tsunami relief and recovery efforts. The company is also donating bottled water sold under the Aquafina name and other PepsiCo products.

An earlier Media Guardian report says that Pepsi wasn't alone, the weirdest example of a pulled ad here is the marmite one:

And Marmite today confirmed it was withdrawing its adverts because billboard scenes of people fleeing from a giant "blob" of the savoury spread were reminiscent of the tusnami disaster.
AnonymousCoward's picture

Although the recent tsunami postponed the ad, and although I still like it, the wave in the background looks like it's going to "tsunami" those surfers.

Also looks like chroma key in Photoshop!

Dabitch's picture

Propaganda in Norway reports that Verdens Gang and that published the image have not received a C&D from PepsiCo. Verdens Gang net editor in cheif Torry Pedersen said:

This was a promo image sent to us from Pepsi that they really wanted us to use, I think we got three mails about this ad with theimage, and when we finally did write about it, they asked us not to use the image. If we get a C&D we'll consider what to do then.

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