“OK, so the product is Pepsi Max. Think, people. It’s a diet cola, it’s only got one calorie. One. One lonely calorie. Wait! That’s it! The calorie is single, and alone, and so it’s depressed! Because it’s lonely! So lonely, that it’s suicidal! So we do an ad campaign with the Pepsi logo right next to a guy blowing his fucking brains out! Brilliant!”
Oh, yeah, that’s real. Pepsi only ran it once in Germany, but millions of people saw it, thanks to the Internet. And whether critics thought it was glorifying suicide rather than simply mocking it, not even the unexpected cuteness of the emo calorie could prevent the outrage that followed.
Pepsi’s excuse was that they didn’t think anyone outside the Deutschland would see the ad. And everyone knows that Germans have… well, let’s just say they have much less delicate sensibilities.Pepsi’s director of social and emerging media apologized and the ad was quickly pulled. It wasn’t long before the American Pepsi brand ended its 50-year relationship with the agency that was responsible. European Pepsi still works with them, though, because they are unafraid of the darkness within.