Pepsi's Bromitment campaign has hit another snag, resulting in the company withdrawing its Running with the Bulls prize after a public backlash.
When it launched last year (“a pledge, promise, obligation to be there with your boys, to participate in any and all shenanigans that may go down”) to criticism for its simplistic gender stereotypes, it encouraged guys to ‘bromit’ to three of their best mates by entering codes online and go in the draw to win a road trip down Route 66, run with the bulls in Pamplona, or skydive in Argentina.
Bull running has now been scrubbed from the agenda, with Pepsi bottler Frucor apologising "unreservedly" for its misjudgement.
"We now recognise that a proportion of our target market is offended by this type of activity, which they perceive as cruel to animals. For this we wholeheartedly apologise. Frucor and Pepsi in no way support animal cruelty," said Aisha Daji Punga, Pepsi commercial director, Frucor New Zealand.
On February 9, Pepsi posted the following message on its Facebook wall:
Good debate guys! We understand Running with the Bulls isn’t for everyone. And we respect that many of you are bromitted to animal welfare. So here are some suggestions if ya want to make a stand against this (approx) 700 year-old festival:
(a). Select one of the other fantastic (no bull) Bromitment experiences on offer.
(b). Choose ‘Running with the Bulls’ and if you win… take your protest to Pamplona.
(c). If you and ya mates win the ‘Running with Bulls’ prize but would rather donate the money to an animal welfare cause, we Pepsi Max, bromit to do that.
Thanks for being passionate. And best of luck with whatever bromitment ya make.
However, Daji Punga said the company had become increasingly aware of the issue via customer feedback and social media.
"Our initial response ... did not include withdrawing from the competition – we now recognise that withdrawing is the right thing to do."