Diet Pepsi has released a new “skinny can” just in time for New York fashion week. The can, which keeps the same logo as the original, is six inches tall and will be available to the public this March. Jill Beraud, the chief marketing officer at Pepsi, calls the can “the perfect complement to today’s most stylish looks.”
The new design, however, is not without controversy; as the skinny can’s release coincides with fashion week, many argue that it harms body image, leading to low self-esteem and eating disorders. The National Eating Disorders Association has taken offense, calling the company’s comments “thoughtless and irresponsible.” Lynn Grefe, President and CEO of the NEDA, declared that Pepsi was resorting to “denigrate the majority of women in this country to sell their products.” According to a 2006 NEDA survey, nearly 20 percent of college students admitted to having an eating disorder.
But is Pepsi really harming the well-being of women or is the rest of the world just being a little too sensitive? While Pepsi’s marketing approach may not necessarily have been the best way to release the new design, the idea that the can will lead to body image issues is questionable. When considering that Diet Pepsi can be bought in a bottle and as a fountain drink in addition to a can, isn’t it a little silly to think that the new design will have a serious effect on anyone’s psyche?
“I usually don’t buy the six packs of soda anyway,” says McCormick freshman Sam Hatfield. “So I don’t even know if I’ll ever see any of these.”
People will look for any way to get offended. Diet Pepsi being sold in a thinner can only serves to make it a visual representation of the body one is working towards by cutting calories. Sure, it’s promoting weight loss (as diet beverages tend to do) but saying that it “denigrate[s] the majority of women in this country” is taking it too far.
If you find yourself getting worked up about the new can, you have to ask yourself; if it’s still the same amount of soda for the same cost, then what’s the problem? The bottom line is, this is just a new marketing plan. A new way for Pepsi to re-invent its image and get media attention, which is exactly what the company has been doing.
“I love Diet Pepsi and I drink it all the time,” says Medill freshman Samantha Zabell. “A new can isn’t going to make me drink it more or less. I like the soda, not the can.”
If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. And if you’re really that concerned about the new can, have no fear; the traditional can will still remain available on shelves.