The All-Empowering Skinny Can! Dear Pepsi, We’re Calling Your Bluff

Tall and Skinny VS. Short and Stout?

*NOTE: RRW™ supports ALL women, regardless of size. Skinny girls are real women, too. We just don’t like it when big corporations tell us being thin is the only way to attain confidence and beauty.*

New York Fashion Week is in full swing thanks in large part to one of their biggest sponsors, PepsiCo, Inc. In addition to getting the usual exposure, Pepsi has used its sponsorship as an opportunity to promote its soon-to-be launched, newly designed Diet Pepsi product – ‘The Skinny Can.’

It’s easy to envision why Pepsi would choose such an event to introduce its cute little can. Where else would there be such an obvious visual correlation between idealized size and beauty (i.e. models on the runway) and a taller, skinnier can of DIET, zero calorie soda? OMG! Perrrfeeect… *sigh*

The AP reports: The can is a “taller, sassier” version of the traditional can that the company says was made in “celebration of beautiful, confident women.”

[cue screeching car tires!]

WOAH. Hold it right there. OK. Let’s work out the simple equation for that.

Skinny Can of Diet Pepsi + Woman = Confidence and Beauty

Wow! Is it really just that easy? Sold!

So, correct me if I’m wrong, Pepsi, but essentially you’re saying that taller and thinner women are the only ones who should feel confident in their beauty? Really? Wow.

Let’s try that out in another equation, shall we?

Confident, Beautiful Women = Tall + Thin

Yeeeah. REAL empowering. REAL inclusive.

From all available press and photos, it would seem that everywhere attendees turn, they’re greeted with a reminder from Pepsi that thinner is better.

Picture this – Skinny Can signage strewn about various fashion week venues and shows. Celebrities, designers and models being photographed incessantly holding the thin can acting as if it’s the absolute BEST thing they’ve ever tasted (and hey, who am I to judge – maybe it is?). A hip lounge/bar dubbed ‘The Skinny Bar’ where you can order a ‘Skinny Cocktail’ and hang with the cool crowd. Pepsi logo-covered information displays with ‘Get the Skinny!’ splashed across their signs. VIP gift bags filled with all kinds of goodies including, you guessed it, Skinny Cans!. TV displays made to look like backstage, dressing room mirrors playing looped footage of extraordinarily thin models walking down runways. Get the connection? Drink Diet Pepsi. Look into the mirror.

Let’s be clear, this was all on purpose. When it comes to marketing, don’t think these kinds of details are left out, because they aren’t. Pepsi specifically chose this as their venue for a reason. Everything is looks-based, including their sizist can.

What baffles me is their denial of the ‘thin’ connection. Especially considering the ONLY Pepsi product being produced in ‘The New Skinny Can!’ is a diet soft drink with its advertised ‘ZERO Cals, Carbs & Sug!’ slapped right on the front of the can. In an email, the company wrote:

‘We are sensitive to this interpretation, and that is definitely not our intent.’

Pepsi, we’re calling your bluff. And we’re going to get many, many others to do the same.

Let’s make a deal!

Jill Beraud, Pepsi’s Chief Marketing Officer, has stated that their ‘slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today’s most stylish looks.’

Well, then! If a cute little ACCESSORY is all you’re going for, I think we may have just found our compromise, Pepsi. All of this fuss could go away and you could make lots of money on a product that doesn’t piss off your customers if you go with one of two options.

Option ONE:

You drop this campaign and the new can all together. Immediately.


Option TWO:

You drop the bull about the ‘Skinny Can’ celebrating ‘confident, beautiful women’ and immediately plan to sell regular Pepsi (full of calories, sugar and carbs, oh my!) in your ‘Skinny Can’ as well. That way, we lose the Skinny = Beautiful baggage AND it becomes more about a stylish, trendy little can that has nothing to do with a woman’s size.

Bonus Round!

And a few more ways you could better your campaign:

First – Your plan to have Sofia Vergara as a spokesperson will go MUCH smoother if you show her drinking REAL Pepsi. She’s a woman who openly celebrates her body and having her selling a diet soda pushing the thin ideal isn’t exactly consistent messaging.

Second – We hear you’re planning on providing designer clothing boutiques in cities across the country with mini fridge displays stocked with Diet Pepsi Skinny Cans (yet again, proof that this IS about size). Why don’t you go out on a limb, take a chance, and make THIS empowering move: Stock those fridges with Diet Pepsi and regular Pepsi. The Fashion Industry is not one that generally embraces women of all sizes. Even if you keep the Skinny Can and drop its association with tallness, thinness & beauty, having both products there will send a message. That REAL WOMEN of ANY size can drink your products and be beautiful, stylish and confident.

I may have studied MUSIC Business and Management in college, but I’ll have you know, Pepsi, that in one of my marketing classes, I did a project where you were the chosen company under which I drew up a marketing plan to launch a new drink because you’re a dynamic, innovative, daring brand. Don’t tarnish your name like this. Do the right thing.


Let the folks behind the Diet Pepsi Skinny Can know what YOU think!

Diet Pepsi on Twitter: (Use hashtags #skinnycan #protest #RRW)

Send your Letters/Emails to these email addresses:,,


©2011 REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN, LLC. All rights reserved.

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