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SBD Global/November 22, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Pepsi Apologizes For Sweden Facebook Ad Depicting Cristiano Ronaldo As Voodoo Doll

Pepsi has apologized to Cristiano Ronaldo after posting "bizarre pictures on their official Facebook page in Sweden of the Portugal forward as a voodoo doll in various forms of distress," according to James Orr of the London INDEPENDENT. The "viral ads were posted on the day of the second-leg of the World Cup qualifying play-off between the two sides, but the black magic had no ill effect on Ronaldo, quite the opposite in fact" -- he scored a hat trick as Portugal won 3-2. Pepsi has offered its "sincerest apology" to the player, "after three images showed the doll -- in red Portugal kit complete with visible No 7. -- being tied to a train track, having its head crushed by a can of Pepsi and being spiked by needles." Under the train track picture was the "regretful caption: 'We're going to pass over Portugal'" (INDEPENDENT, 11/21). In London, John Drayton wrote the ads "sparked outrage" in Ronaldo's homeland, with a Facebook page titled "I'll Never Drink Pepsi Again" getting 115,000 likes. Pepsi is "a major sponsor of Ronaldo's Barcelona rival, Lionel Messi" (DAILY MAIL, 11/21).
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