Macabre Soda Ad Finds Suicide Funny

One “very very very lonely calorie” uses poison, among other methods, to commit suicide in a PepsiCo advertising campaign in Germany that has been pulled amidst controversy over its horrific depictions.

The ad, aimed at generating sales for "Pepsi Max," the company's one calorie drink, has drawn ire from people whose lives have been affected by suicide. Pepsi apologized to one woman via Twitter, a text message-based social networking service.

According to the BNET Industry's advertising website, Huw Gilbert, senior manager for communications at PepsiCo responded to a woman whose sister killed herself. “We agree this creative was totally inappropriate; we apologize and please know it won't run again,” wrote Gilbert.

The ad appears in three different layouts, each with its own suicide “theme.”  In one ad, the “lonely calorie” is slitting his wrists while strapped to a bomb. In another, the character is sitting in a pool of gasoline with a lighted match. The third ad depicts the little blue calorie with a bottle of poison in one hand, a gun in the other, a bullet exiting the back of his head, a foaming mouth and a noose around his neck, all while standing on a teetering piece of wood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2008, and the suicide is on the rise for the first time in a decade, according to a 2008 report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Injury Research and Policy. On average, six people are immediately affected by a single suicide according to the American Association of Suicidology.

With suicide rates on the rise, and approximately 192,000 people affected by its consequences each year, it appears as though PepsiCo had a death wish before pulling these ads.