ABC Television has blocked 7UP from running the first spot in its new "Make 7 Up Yours" campaign during the Super Bowl, deeming it inappropriate for a mass audience that is expected to reach some 130 million viewers, sources said.
The 30-second spot, by Young & Rubicam here, features comedian Orlando Jones as a new marketing chief walking down the street, wearing a green T-shirt with the words, "Make 7" on the front and "Up yours" on the back. Passers-by have different reactions; an Asian man with a cell phone appears to be insulted after seeing the back of the shirt.
The spot, which already is running on other networks, is designed to introduce the in-your-face campaign-the third for the struggling soda brand in as many years. 7UP sees Super Bowl XXXIV as a golden opportunity to reposition the brand.
A different spot will fill the time bought in the second quarter: In it, Jones puts a 7UP vending machine in the middle of a busy highway, said sources.
An ABC representative declined to discuss the spot. "We really don't comment on issues related to content in advertising," said Ed Dandridge, vice president, network communications.
Y&R also declined comment. John Clarke, the chief advertising officer at 7UP's parent, Dr. Pepper/7UP, Plano, Texas, could not be reached. A 7UP representative confirmed the "T-shirt" ad would not air during the Jan. 30 game. (7UP also has bought time during the pregame show.)
Observers questioned ABC's judgement, at a time when TV programming has become increasingly racy. "Since when did the networks become the dictators of good taste?" one source said. "Sit and watch TV-all the trash they put on. Oh, but [you] can't say, 'Up yours?'"
Andrew McMains, ADWEEK-December 20, 1999
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