Pepsi: Thin is In

Thin is in at New York Fashion Week this month – but this time we can’t blame the fashion industry.

Pepsi is releasing a “slim, attractive new can” that is the “perfect compliment to today’s most stylish looks”, according to Jill Beraud, chief marketing officer, Pepsi.

But Pepsi doesn’t stop there. The company is calling the “taller, sassier new Skinny Can” of Diet Pepsi a “celebration of beautiful, confident women.”

I interpret this to mean “Skinny is sexy. To be beautiful or confident you must be taller and thinner than the competition.”  Congratulations, Pepsi, on your wonderful and empowering message.  While the brand was previously known for its fun ads, often featuring celebrities, it will now be remembered as the company who gave the average soda can a body image complex.

I’m not sure what their PR team was thinking, but there’s no way this will be a positive move for the company.  Obviously changing the look of the soda can is one of the only ways the brand could reinvent itself, and the move to a tall, skinny can is just fine.  However, it’s the questionable messaging that turned this from a marketing boon to a PR fail.

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  • I completely agree, I don’t think Pepsi’s use of the word ‘skinny’ teamed up with a connotation of ‘beautiful’ and ‘confident’ sends the right message or gives the brand a positive image. Even more so since it was released during Fashion Week. I’m curious to know what their marketing team’s rationale behind this rebranding actually was.

    • Anonymous

      Having seen their rationale, I’m still not convinced this was an intelligent move on their part. The campaign had a lot of potential with the Fashion Week tie-in, and Pepsi had an excellent concept with their design rooms. Unfortunately, the gaffes they made in explaining their rationale has really hurt the potential for success here.

  • I completely agree, I don’t think Pepsi’s use of the word ‘skinny’ teamed up with a connotation of ‘beautiful’ and ‘confident’ sends the right message or gives the brand a positive image. Even more so since it was released during Fashion Week. I’m curious to know what their marketing team’s rationale behind this rebranding actually was.

    • Anonymous

      Having seen their rationale, I’m still not convinced this was an intelligent move on their part. The campaign had a lot of potential with the Fashion Week tie-in, and Pepsi had an excellent concept with their design rooms. Unfortunately, the gaffes they made in explaining their rationale has really hurt the potential for success here.

  • This reminds me of something I noticed with Barbasol shaving cream products (http://bit.ly/6IAmgr) – they too, made a slim, skinny can for the feminine gender – though it is, basically the same product. Do some products need their own gender ID? Will the ‘sexy, skinny’ new Pepsi can mean some men won’t buy it? Or is the can really geared toward the young generation that is soaking its brains in high-powered, highly-caffeinated energy drinks (also available in nice, skinny cans)?