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Pepsi File Swapper Ad 'Hip'
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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The Pepsi ad that's using the teenaged victim of the RIAA in a promo is "smart" and "hip".

That's what 'ad experts' think, according to a puff piece on the advertising agency BBDO, the company which produced the ad, in the New York Daily News here.

'Cynically exploitative' would be a more accurate description. And the fact it's passing by with hardly a mention says a lot: and none of it good.

"Their clients must be incredibly happy," the NYDN story has "fabled adman Jerry Della Femina," chairman of a rival agency, saying.

Actually, their clients are indescribably crass - and the same goes for 'fabled adman Femina,' not to speak of BBDO chairman and chief 'creative' officer Ted Sann.

Because BBDO has conned a schoolgirl victim of the RIAA's sue 'em all anti-file sharing campaign into appearing in its ad promoting an RIAA-backed online music store. The ad goes up on February 1 - Super Bowl Sunday.

And that's OK.

The girl, Annie Leith, 14, was forced to pay the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) $3,000 to avoid being dragged into court where she, or her parents, would have risked paying the RIAA far more.

Leith says she's going to use "use some of her undisclosed ad fee to help pay for the settlement".

And that's OK too.

One wonders:

* How much the RIAA had to do with this farce?
* Who advised Annie?
* Who came up with the idea in the first place?
* Who supplied Annie's name and address?
* Who represented her during 'negotiations'?
* Exactly how much was she paid to be the focus of the ad?
* Whether or not she belongs to a union of any kind?
* If she was legally entitled to appear in the ad as a celebrity performer, in effect - and if she was, did she receive the going rate for what amounted to a 'celebrity' appearance?

In the meanwhile, BBDO is apparently "trying to grab attention with spots like the iTunes-Pepsi ad that makes use of real people and the hot-button issue of music downloads," says the NYDN.

[Ah ... so that's where Theresa Howard's hot button came from - Ed]

"The agency elected to go with 20 regular kids - including Leith - who happens to be among the hundreds sued by the recording industry for illegal music downloads," says the report.

'Happens' to be among the hundreds? Like in 'What an amazing coincidence?'

And as the countdown to the Super Bowl begins, Sann said he's having a good time.

"It's fun," he said. "It's an exciting part of the business. It's the closest you ever get to getting reviews."

Hey, Ted - this is a review.

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