Diet Pepsi launches 'skinny' can for fashion week

Diet Pepsi has introduced a new "skinny" can for Fashion Week, but some critics are giving it a big, fat "no."
The National Eating Disorder Association blasted the new skinny can, saying Pepsi's comments were 'thoughtless and irresponsible.' ((PepsiCo Inc./Associated Press))

Diet Pepsi has introduced a new "skinny" can for Fashion Week, but some critics are giving it a big, fat "no."

The can is a "taller, sassier" version of the traditional can that the company says was made in "celebration of beautiful, confident women." Some say Pepsi's approach only reinforces dangerous stereotypes about women and body image.

"Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today's most stylish looks, and we're excited to throw its coming-out party during the biggest celebration of innovative design in the world," Jill Beraud, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo said in a statement.

PepsiCo Inc. presented the new can at New York's Fashion Week, which began Thursday. It will be available to consumers across the U.S. in March.

But critics say it is nothing to celebrate.

The National Eating Disorders Association said it takes offence to the can and said the company's comments are both "thoughtless and irresponsible."

Libby Copeland summed up many of the criticisms in an article for Slate.

"Same old story — aspirational, looks-oriented advertising with a thin layer of faux-empowerment on top," Copeland wrote. "If you're confident on the inside, you'll be skinny on the outside, or something. Huh?"

Pepsi said the can and its campaign are focused on design. The company also said it is using the term "skinny" in multiple formats.

"It's almost a double-entendre," said Andrea Canbal, a spokeswoman for Pepsi, which is a Fashion Week sponsor.

"With this notion of 'getting the skinny' we are giving them the latest on fashion trends at shows."

The company will take its campaign one step further on Feb. 28 when it launches a print advertisement for the new can featuring the buxom actress Sofia Vergara. Pepsi says it will continue to sell its traditional-sized can.