SBD/April 13, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Talking Trash: Beckham Insists Viral Diet Pepsi Video Is Not Doctored

MLS Galaxy MF David Beckham yesterday insisted that a Diet Pepsi ad in which he performs an "amazing feat with a ball on a California beach" is the "real thing," according to Daniel Girard of the TORONTO STAR. The 69-second spot shows Beckham "bending three consecutive balls with his bare foot from the sand and into garbage cans far in the distance." Beckham, when asked if the spot was real, said, "Of course. I spent five or six hours on the beach so I had a lot of time to practise." Girard notes the ad shows Beckham "juggling a soccer ball with his feet while holding a can of the soft drink." He is then "asked by the cameraperson if he can hit three garbage cans down towards the ocean with three balls, which are tossed into the shot." Beckham in the ad says hitting all three is "even easier" than one. After "setting down the pop can in the sand -- its label facing the camera -- he drills all three balls into the garbage cans while the cameraperson cheers wildly" (TORONTO STAR, 4/13). In Australia, Asher Moses noted pro athletes "have proved to be viral gold for big brands, which have become better and better at creating ad campaigns that appear to be organic viral hits." The Beckham spot is "reminiscent of the Ronaldinho 'Crossbar Challenge' ad the Brazilian footballer shot for Nike in 2005." Nike in '08 also produced a video in which Lakers G Kobe Bryant is "shown jumping over an Aston Martin." SBS soccer analyst Craig Foster said that the skills of players like Ronaldinho and Beckham "made the seemingly technically impossible appear possible, even if the clips were fake" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 4/12).
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