Excellent news, dear readers: that pinnacle of health known as the fashion industry embraces Diet Pepsi and its new “skinny can”. Raise your glass of sugar-free Red Bull — and an appetite-curbing cancer stick — to that!
No, really. Here are some recent tweets written — or ReTweeted — by @dietpepsi in the last 48 hours during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City:
Betsey Johnson waking up with Diet Pepsi. #skinnycan
Aspartame and phosphoric acid for breakfast. If that doesn’t scream glamour and couture, I don’t know what does!
Oh, look, a hashtag with the word “skinny” on it. How subtle.
Get it? Because calories are evil and — gasp! — what do you mean you’re drinking a latte with whole milk?
Now, perhaps I’m just too cynical. After all, Pepsi’s press release mentions that the “taller, sassier new Skinny Can” — which will roll out nationwide in March — is “in celebration of beautiful, confident women.” Bonus points if you’re in your thirties and purchase your clothes at Gap Kids, of course!
But, wait, there’s more:
In addition, to celebrate beautiful, confident women and offer refreshment across the country, Diet Pepsi Skinny Can is collaborating with 10 fashion boutiques in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, providing them with a custom “Skinny Can Fridge.” Thirsty fashionistas will get a complimentary Diet Pepsi Skinny Can while they shop in stores including Jeffrey, Intermix, Fred Segal, and Dash.
Yum! Nothing says “fashion” like an artificial sweetener with a sketchy political past and possible links to decreased thyroid function.
In one fell swoop, this campaign manages to touch upon a good number of my pet peeves:
- Playing the “female empowerment” card while simultaneously hammering the message that this beverage is all about skinniness.
- Equating “calorie-free” with a healthful choice.
- Teaming up with an industry known for throwing health out the window when it comes to achieving physical perfection.
- Advertising the “same old” as a new and exciting product.
Besides, while diet sodas may sound good “on paper” from a weight loss standpoint, a substantial body of research has called that into question. One recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity, for instance, found that artificial sweeteners caused subjects to seek calories elsewhere.
Other studies — such as this Dutch one conducted in 2010 and published in journal NeuroImage earlier this year — have called into question the “metabolic rewards” of artificial sweeteners, stating that they not only fail to provide a feeling of satiety, but are actually implicated in appetite stimulation.
One also can’t help but wonder why the ever-increasing intake of artificial sweeteners among the general population has not made a dent in the continually rising rates of overweight and obesity throughout the world.
Perhaps Diet Pepsi’s new ad slogan should be “Who needs calories when you’ve got chemicals?” Or maybe a more to-the-point “Same crap, different can”.