US: Pepsi withdraws Ludacris ad

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US soft drinks and food group, PepsiCo, has withdrawn a TV ad featuring the US rap star, Ludacris, following complaints that the singer's lyrics were derogatory towards women and included swearing.

The 30-second ad had been intended to boost the brand's appeal with minority groups. PepsiCo apologised for any offence caused through its association with the rapper.

US TV presenter and right-wing columnist, Bill O'Reilly, called Pepsi 'immoral' for using Ludacris in its advertising and called for consumers to boycott the brand. "I'm calling for all responsible Americans to fight back and punish Pepsi for using a man who degrades women, who encourages substance abuse, and does all things that hurt particularly the poor in our society," he said.

Pepsi faced a similar controversy back in 1989 after a Madonna video caused uproar in religious communities forcing the brand to drop the star from its advertising. But it has enjoyed successful associations more recently with pop stars such as Britney Spears and Shakira. It has recently signed up the nu-metal band Papa Roach and the rap act Sev to appear in TV ads for its new Pepsi Blue berry-flavoured drink.

Companies: PepsiCo

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