Pepsi’s new Skinny Can, launched during New York Fashion Week as an appeal to the fashionable crowd, isn’t showing up in designer handbags as much as in debates over body image. They’ve brought in the big guns and hired Colombian actress Sofia Vergara to get in on the debate, but to little effect. If you’re not up on all things PepsiCo (or Sofia Vergara), here’s a play-by-play of their recent attempt to drum up consumer enthusiasm:
PepsiCo: Announces new cans in “celebration of beautiful, confident women, Diet Pepsi presents the taller, sassier new Skinny Can,” during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
Media & Co.: Criticizes Pepsi for their association of beauty and confidence with tall and skinny.
PepsiCo: Ropes in Sofia Vergara, the notoriously curvy model and star of ABC’s Modern Family, to shoot new ads for the Skinny Can, proving that they think all body types are beautiful, not just tall, thin models. (Did we mention that Sofia Vergara is a model?)
Media & Co.: Responds fairly indifferently, pointing out that the ad only exposes Vergara’s profile and shoulder.
So what do most women think about the new skinny can? According to a post on That’s Fit, most women just don’t care: “For pete’s sake people, it’s a friggin’ pop can. Get over yourselves,” says one reader who was quoted for the post. “If someone gets insecure over a can I think they may have more serious issues!” quips another.
We’re slightly put off by Pepsi’s insinuations about beauty and body type, but mostly, we’re wondering why so many people see fit to compare women to aluminum cans of diet soft drinks. Sure, packaging influences consumers, and the women a company chooses to place in its ads are important, too. But I’m more grossed out by this idea that the worst thing for my body image during fashion week is a can of Diet Pepsi – aren’t all those models, beauty products, expensive clothes, and advertisements beaming my way through websites and magazines a little more disconcerting? Until fashion magazines show me women of all shapes and sizes modeling clothes down the runway, Pepsi’s cans are the least of my concerns.
As for Sofia Vergara; I like her a lot on Modern Family, but she doesn’t make me feel great about my body, either. Slapping a “curvy” actress or model on ad campaigns doesn’t necessarily signal highly evolved beauty standards in my book, and as much as I enjoy her accented quips on ABC, I’m sticking to nutritionists’ advice when it comes to whether or not to sip diet soft drinks for my health.