Diet Pepsi debuted a new "Skinny Can" (standing at six inches tall) at this week's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC, and while it doesn't hit grocery shelves until March, it's already stirring up strong opinions from one health group.
According to Lynn Grefe, President and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, "It is painful that a major Fortune 500 company needs to denigrate the majority of women in this country to sell their products. Most women are not skinny, nor should we encourage them to be anything but their own personal size. The focus should be on health. Grefe continues in a press release, "Pepsi should be ashamed for declaring that skinny is to be celebrated."
In the original press release announcing the slimmer can, PepsiCo Chief Marketing Officer Jill Beraud says "Diet Pepsi has a long history of celebrating women through iconic fashion imagery seen in our infamous and historical campaigns, and we're proud to continue that tradition as an official sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week," adding, "Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today's most stylish looks, and we're excited to throw its coming-out party during the biggest celebration of innovative design in the world."
Simon Doonan, Creative Ambassador-at-Large of Barneys, who is currently participating in an art installation promoting the can, said in a Forbes interview, "Oh, it's so silly. 'Skinny' refers to objects -- skinny can, skinny latte -- not people."
Now, along with the can and its message being criticized, the print ads -- starring "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara -- are being questioned. AOL's PopEater.com writes, "Sofia Vergara's famous curves are hidden in a new ad campaign." She "looks downright skinny in the ad that features her bony shoulder at an insane angle and toned down chest."
What do you think? Is it all just a silly brouhaha over a soda can, or do you think these ads perpetuate a negative body image?
As an aside, in case you're attached to a traditional short and fat product -- no need to worry. A Pepsi spokeswoman confirmed the old model will remain on shelves, according to CNN.