Pepsi forced to change TV ads

PepsiCo has been forced to alter one of its ads to comply with TV watchdogs but is still fighting to air ads that ridicule rival Coke.

The soft drinks maker has had to bow to the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre and change the Pepsi ads which start in the UK this week. The company had planned to show and name a Coca-Cola can and to make fun of its rival. However, after weeks of negotiation Pepsi has now had to scramble the image of the Coca-Cola can so the brand name is unrecognisable.

Pepsi is still in negotiation with the BACC over further executions of the ads, due to run later this year. A decision over whether it will be able to show an unedited version of the rival soft drink in the later ads will be made this week.

If neither ad is cleared by the BACC, it will be a blow to Pepsi’s UK marketing plans. The company had hoped to test out changes in UK trademark legislation allowing wider use of comparative advertising.

The ads, which are fronted by Cindy Crawford, were unveiled in January by PepsiCo International vice president of marketing and sales John Swanhaus. He promised Pepsi’s toughest ever attack on Coca-Cola (MW January 20).

Pepsi brand manager Tim Davie says the ads, designed by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, are still hard-hitting. Although the Coke brand name is obscured, the red and white colours will be discernible. “We are still pushing the boundaries of competitive advertising. We are going further than before.”

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