Jeff Gordan Test Driving It To The Max, Or Is He?

As an avid YouTube watcher I try to stay up to speed on all of the hilarious new videos gone viral.  This week I was surprised to see NASCAR driver Jeff Gordan promoting Pepsi Max in disguise running a prank on an unsuspecting car salesman, taking him for the ride of his life.  Gordan gets into a 2009 Chevy Camaro with a “can cam” (aka a camera disguised as a Pepsi can), and zooms off educing panic on the car salesman.  After taking the car for a few ridiculously fast spins, they return to the lot and the salesman storms off threatening to call the cops, but not before Gordan reveals the truth about who he really is.

A hilarious video, yet to my surprise it just came out that it’s not a true prank!  Gordan apparently did not drive the car, and the salesman was an actor.  That may be because it was a commercial.

Though it was well disguised as another prank video (hello punk’d), the video is indeed an advertisement for Pepsi Max.

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Many are blowing the roof off of the video with detective like images and phone calls to the supposed salesman.  Jalopnik goes on a detailed look into the “truth” behind the video.  It has been discovered that the producers behind it all come from Gifted Youth, a division of Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die Company.  The company even wrote last spring in the New York Times that they “will create videos that are purely advertising, which marketers could run online, on television or in movie theaters. Those videos are more likely to be in the standard commercial lengths of 30 to 60 seconds”.  Though some may see this as deception, I can’t help but think of one thing.  Oh yea, all press is good press.

No matter if it is a true prank or not (or a true commercial or not), Pepsi Max get’s their product across in a creative and pretty hilarious way.  And as of today the video has been viewed over 30 million times!  If this isn’t good advertising, I don’t know what is!

NP 4/16

I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly

Beyonce is back! In a new commercial for Pepsi Beyonce gives us a preview of her new song “Grown Woman” while revisiting some of her previous music video persona’s through the mirrors of her dance studio.

As much as I obsess over Beyonce (yes I do have a Crazy In Love poster in my room and am having a Beyonce themed birthday party) having her be the spokesperson for Pepsi (after signing a $50 million dollar deal) makes me a little upset!  As a strong, powerful woman, and the role model to many girls, Beyonce has the power to persuade many people across the globe.  And for some time she was using her power for good as a spokesperson for the first lady’s health campaign “Let’s Move”.

In this music video, which has been shown in elementary and middle schools across the country, Beyonce revamps her classic “Get Me Bodied” and leads a cafeteria of students in a heart-pumping workout.  She looks great, and embodies a healthy and athletic persona, which may be close to the true Beyonce!  She even takes a bite out of an apple at the end of the scene, obviously making apples the desire of every little Beyonce fan in the world (including me).

However in this new commercial, after she breaks it down in typical Queen Bey form, she takes a long sip of REGULAR (not even diet!) Pepsi.  I’m sure that Beyonce drank a ton of soda after having a baby and still managing to look like this….

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According to a press release from PepsiCo the new commercial will be appear in more than 70 countries worldwide and be scene by over 1 billion people worldwide.  With such a massive global impact I had hoped Beyonce would not sell out and would think of how her promotional activities directly influence her fans.  The Harvard School of Public Health has stated “a typical 20-ounce soda contains 15-18 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories” and “people who consume sugary drinks regularly – 1 to 2 cans a day or more- have a 26% change of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks”.

I am deeply disappointed in Queen Bey, and hope that the millions of young people who love her so are aware of the dangers of the consumption of sugary drinks.  What do you think, did Beyonce sell out?

NP 4/9

The Perfect Cocktail

Ah, How I Met Your Mother.  Nine seasons strong and we still haven’t met the elusive mother… and yet I still watch every Monday night.  What can I say, I’m hooked!   One of todays most popular sitcoms, the five friends are fairly social, and (like some of our other “friends”) have a meeting spot where they hang out over beverages.  For these guys it’s Maclaren’s Pub.

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Like a lot of young professionals the group of friends is frequently seen getting a beer or two together socializing and typically solving their current dating dilemmas.  However, in this one episode Lily and Robin try to find “the perfect cocktail” to get Barney and Marshall the right kind of drunk to to reconcile after having a bad fight.

As the clip explains, each cocktail has a different effect on every member of the gang (for example red wine = self pity for Barney) so finding the perfect one to solve this situation seems difficult.

However, as I was watching this episode I started to think, is this an appropriate way to be portraying the consumption of alcohol on a show has many viewers below the legal drinking age?  Yes, drinking can be fine in moderation, and some of the time the characters on the show do portray responsible drinking.  But in this episode Lily and Robin aim to get the guys drunk so that they can resolve a problem between them.  But, does heavy drinking typically solve problems or create them?

One of the six ways that Bandura’s Social Learning Theory explains how we learn to choose one option over another is modeling.  Bandura’s “major premise is that we can learn by observing others” and he was particularly concerned with the amount of knowledge learned through modeled behaviors conducted through film and television.

How I Met Your Mother is very entertaining (I myself do own a print copy of “The Bro Code” – thanks to legendary best friend) but the portrayal of the effects of alcohol in this clip do not show the negative (hello hangover!) and potentially deadly effects of binge drinking.  The CDC defines binge drinking as “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above”.  If the guys are getting drunk, they are probably ending up with a higher BAC than .08, and this episode does nothing to address how this could impact their viewers.

Where do you draw the line… is How I Met Your Mother just trying to be funny, or is their characters behavior impacting the decisions of their viewers who themselves may now be trying to find the perfect cocktail?

WP 3/22

Radio Waves Target Sugary Drinks

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This weekend I drove all seven hours in my parent’s 14-year-old purple minivan to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday in Philadelphia.  I managed to make the trip without too much boredom (thank you audio book of “Silver Linings Playbook”) but did take a break from my book to listen

to the local Philly radio.

I was happily surprised to hear a radio PSA for “Food Fit Philly” which is a part of “Get Healthy Philly” a program of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  The ad was a conversation between two teenagers and a parent talking about the dangers of sugar sweetened beverages and the link between soda and diabetes.  One of the hottest health and policy topics today, the radio ad not only described the negative health effects but also provided some healthy alternatives to sugary drinks such as water with pineapple!

The media campaign is working on targeting the right demographic and I think they chose good placement by choosing to do a radio PSA on one of the more popular Hip Hop stations, listened too by many young adults.  Obesity is a problem in Philadelphia.  The Philadelphia Department of Public Health stated that in 2008 64% of adults and 57% of children ages 6-11 were overweight or obese.

Sugar sweetened beverages are definitely a part of the obesity epidemic in America, yet many people are taking a strong stance against proposed soda taxes, such as the ever brilliant Sarah Palin…

Hopefully socially responsible media will prevail in this battle for a more educated and healthy country.

NP 3/19