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Volume 25 No. 6
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Mtn Dew Pulls Grant Hill Ad After It Upsets Coca-Cola, CBS, Turner

PepsiCo’s Mtn Dew brand has pulled an ad with Grant Hill that upset CBS, Turner and longtime NCAA sponsor Coca-Cola. Mtn Dew’s spot with Hill debuted last week during coverage of the conference tournaments and poked fun at NCAA-specific sayings like “Sweet 16,” “Final Four” and “March Madness.” Hill, who works on the lead March Madness broadcast team with Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson, also promoted a Mtn Dew giveaway that was tied to the “Beat the Buzzer” campaign. Mtn Dew, which has no NCAA marketing rights, did not respond to requests for comment. The 90-second version of Hill’s spot is no longer available on YouTube. Coca-Cola has been an NCAA corporate champion since '02 (Michael Smith, Staff Writer). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Alex Putterman wrote it is a "bit surprising" to see Mtn Dew pull a commercial that it has "blasted across airwaves over the past week, apparently due to pressure from a rival." In light of that news, it is "easy to imagine a long string of phone calls, with Coca-Cola pressuring the NCAA and/or its broadcast partners, the networks leaning on Hill and Hill’s people" asking Mtn Dew to pull the ad. Putterman: "Clearly someone nudged Mountain Dew in one way or another." March Madness will now "proceed without Hill getting beeped" by a Mtn Dew buzzer. And it is "too bad, really, because the ad was pretty funny" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 3/12).