Hot on the heels of the Motrin Mommy fiasco, a new row has broken out on Twitter over a series of advertising visuals developed by BBDO for Pepsi. You can read all about it at my blog on ZDNET.
In the end the conundrum is this – should commercial speech be allowed free speech protection and artistic sanctity? My view is that free speech ought to be protected fully but when the chips are down a commercial enterprise and their PR mavens are going to find it nigh on impossible to defend. There have been exceptions, Benetton comes to mind but is that what a Benetton is for?
In the Pepsi case – we have a company that is committed to sustainability & transparency. They publish their standards and performance and they admit a mistake and say sorry. The alternative could be to stick by their guns and defend it. I would respect that too and I would enjoy seeing that play out. BBDO, sadly has done neither — they appear willing neither to say sorry and recant or stand behind the work and their client.
There will be many more moments like this in the future. It won’t be viable in future to always either roll over or hide.