Friday, May 20, 2005

Pepsi and the Finger

Powerline first broke the story about PepsiCo's president Indra Nooyi's graduation speech at Columbia University's Business School MBA ceremony. The scandal continues, and it should.

Nooyi compared the United States to the middle finger. She thereafter issued a statement attempting to "clarify" what she "meant," claiming that she had been misunderstood. Rrriiight.

Here is a copy of the speech. Here is a copy of the statement where she claims her views were "misconstrued" and that any criticism of the United States was "inadvertent." Rubbish.

Here are some excerpts of the speech:

As the longest of the fingers, [the United States] really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively. This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg-up in global business since the end of World War 1.

However, if used inappropriately --just like the U.S. itself-- the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I'm talking about. In fact, I suspect you're hoping that I'll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I'm not looking for volunteers to model.

Discretion being the better part of valor...I think I'll pass.

What is most crucial to my analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents, is that each of us in the U.S. --the long middle finger-- must be careful that when we extend our arm in either a business or political sense, we take pains to assure we are giving a hand...not the finger. Sometimes this is very difficult. Because the U.S.--the middle finger--sticks out so much, we can send the wrong message unintentionally.

Unfortunately, I think this is how the rest of the world looks at the U.S. right now. Not as a part of the hand--giving strength and purpose to the rest of the fingers--but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal.

Better part of valor? So the US engages in inappropriate acts and since she adds, "You know what I'm talking about," nothing was "misconstrued" nor was anything "inadvertent." She said it. She meant it. Now she should pay the consequences. Their apology only made matters worse. That was not an apology. When we add this to the alleged intentional removal of the key phrase "under God" from their cans highlighting the Pledge of Allegiance, this only makes their position more transparent. Odd that this should come from a company whose CEO is a former military man.

No more Pepsi here. In fact, no more Pepsi products:

Frito-Lay Brands
Pepsi-Cola Brands
Gatorade Brands
Tropicana Brands
Quaker Brands

No more Gatorade? Guess not. Powerade here I come. Oatmeal too? Yep.

Until PepsiCo handles this appropriately by clearly apologizing to our country and further demonstrating a true understanding of the good the US and its military does in the world will I not buy Pepsi products and will I encourage others to do the same.

Hugh has more info and a link to others who have posted on this. (Scroll to bottom of this post.) As well, he points out, PepsiCo Boycott blog has already appeared. The wonders of the blogosphere.

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