Bill O’Reilly went off on Pepsi and Ludacris top open Tuesday’s ‘O’Reilly Factor’ on Fox News. Bill called for a boycott of Pepsi after word that the soft drink company would be featuring commercials using Ludacris. O’Reilly cited Luda’s ‘vile lyrics’ and that Pepsi was throwing morals out the window in order to appeal to fans of the rapper. Read on for a transcript of his debates with both Pepsi marketing rep Bart Casabona and Leon Winter, the author of ‘American Skin Pop Culture, Big Business and The End of White America .’
Bill: Thanks for watching us tonight take the pepsi challenge — well,
forget it. I am challenging pepsi ever its choice of a paid spokesman.
That’s the subject of this evening’s “talking points” memo. Pepsi cola
will run ads featuring the rapper Ludacris who some consider more vile
than others if that’s possible. Some excerpts from the artist — bill:
Apparently all that is fine with pepsi. On the radio “the factor” today
I spoke with pepsi P.R. Guy Bart Casabona.
Bart: He’s one of today’s most popular performers and he’s broadly appealing
among teens of all ethnicities. And that’s really what we target with these,
you know, advertisements.”
Bill: So you don’t really care about his morals or message he puts out?
Bart: For us it’s really about how he’s portrayed in our advertising.
As you see in our commercials, if you had a chance to view them, we capitalize
on his ability to connect with our target audience in a relevant manner.
Bill: Say you had a guy who was connecting with young people and he
was anti-semitic, would you use him?
Bart: Well, you know, i really can’t play on the what-if scenarios —
Bill: So it’s possible?
Bart: I can tell you again that the scores among teens for Ludacris
are as high or higher than any other celebrity we’ve used in the past advertising.
Bill: But you see the problem I’m having is that that it’s true. It’s
true, and it’s a shrewd advertising move to use a guy who is going to get
you attention in a community that you want to sell soda to, no question
about that. I’m not arguing that. What I’m arguing is that you’re legitimate
mizing a man who is demeaning just about everybody and peddling antI-social
behavior. You have no qualm busy that? — Qualms about that?
Bart: Obviously we have never associate our trademarks with inappropriate
behavior. Ludacris in our ads are — is certainly focused about conveying
fun, optimistic messages to our audience.
Bill: Fun optimistic messages? Have you heard his songs?
Bart: I’m speaking about our advertising.
Bill: Ok. So you’re separating you’re ad company from what he does on
Bart: We’re — again, this is about how we portray him in our advertising.
Bill: Well, he declines to come on the television “the factor” because
he know his argument is weak. Anyway, the point is that pepsI is legitimatizing
the rapper giving him far more exposure than he would normally get. Probably
an effective marketing tool but what about the good of the company? Pepsi
has made millions in america and apparently feels it has no responsibility
to further the public good. Obviously, pepsi could not care less about
children because they’re promoting a man that espouses violence, degrading
sex and substance abuse. So here’s the deal, pepsi. You want to cultivate
Ludacris, fine. I’m drinking coke. I’m sending you a message. I don’t like
your choice of pitch men so Dr. Pepper is now on my menu. Up you should
remember, when you dine with the devil, bring a long spoon. I don’t like
pepsi’s dining companion, so I’m drinking the competition and that’s the
memo. Another point of view on thiS. Joining us from los angeles is Leon
winter, the author of “american skin pop culture, big business and the
end of white america .” So am i wrong, mr. Winter?
Leon: I think you might be confuse — confusing pepsi’s promotion of
its product with pepsi’s promotion of Ludacris. Yes, I do think you’re
wrong to the extent that you believe that this is something new. In fact,
this horse has long since left the barn and it’s too late to slam the door
on the invasion of popular culture of hip-hop popular culture and urban
pleasure culture into the marketing mainstream
Bill: Well, look, just because you think it’s in and the bottle is off
doesn’t mean i have to accept it as an american consumer so 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 the
things that hurt particularly the poor and our society. I’m calling for
all americans to say, hey, pepsi, i’m not drinking your stuff. You want
to hang around with Ludacris, you do that, I’m not hanging around with
you. Am I wrong to do that?
Leon: It’s certainly your right but be aware, this is not about you.
Not about me either, for that are matter. Generation — the baby boom generation,
of wchch i would assume you’re a part of, I know I am, what i discovered
in reporting and writing my book “american skin” marketers will tell you
emphatically, in fact marketers who are responsible for pepsi will tell
you that it’s about generation x and generation Y.
Bill: But look, we’re not arguing the fact they might sell sodas to
these peoplE. We’re arguing the fact that is immoral behavior on a part
of pepsi cola. It’s immoral behavior to push this guy Ludacris in the faces
of americans when he does all these terrible things on his rap albums.
It’s immoral, mR. Wynter, do you get that?
Leon: I get how you could construe it that way. But again, they are
not, perhaps if you wanted to castigate someone for being immoral, perhaps
you should talk to his record label but remember pepsi is pushing a soda.
Bill: Record labels, who cares about them. Everybody knows what the
record labels are. They’ll do anythinG. Pepsi cola has made an enormous
amount of money. In 1989 they booted madonna off. Madonna used to be a
spokesperson for pepsi and she made an album “lick a prayer” came out with
a stigmaia and they said no, we’re firing you. Now pepsi in 2002 says,
hey, we’re going to hire a guy who says I’m drunk, i’m going to hit you
on the head, I’m going to — you know, one of his songs is entitled i have
a ho in every area codE. Isn’t that nice? You think there’s a woman in
america that should drink pepsi cola after hearing I have a ho in every
area code? Come on.
Leon: If you’re talking about morality in marketing, do you think or
would you call similarly for a campaign against the manufacturers and marketers
of cigarettes or other products —
Bill: Absolutely. Cigarette marketing is not allowed on television,
as you know. We booted them off because they’re hurting young people with
Leon: But nevertheless, they are very effective at marketing their product
and selling their product, which is —
Bill: I don’t want Ludacris to be banned. I’m not talking about thaT.
Let Ludacris be Ludacris, all right? Thank you. Let him do what he wants.
He’s a dumb idiot who’s got lucky and exploits the system that we have.
Fine. Pepsi cola is my problem. Pepsi cola is my problem here.
Leon: Would you then — is there any rapper or any hip-hop figure that
would be acceptable to you?
Bill: Chubby checker. Chubby checker — that was then and this is now.
I don’t want this kind of behavior to be rewarded — hear me. I don’t want
antI-social behavior to be rewarded in our society. This guy hurts children
without guidance. You know it, I know it, everyone watching knows it. Pepsi
cola is exploiting that and rewarding him for doing that. If you don’t
see it, you don’t want to see it. If a kid don’t have guidance, doesn’t
have responsible parents and attaches himself to somebody like Ludacris,
that person, that child is going to be hurt, and if you don’t see it, you
don’t want to see it.
Leon: To be sure, I work with teenagers in my church, church teenagers
and often I do talk to them about — well, what do you see, how does this
represent the values that I believe you sincerely want to embrace and yet
you like to listen to, let’s say for example Ludacris, and what they will
point out and in the end you can only take them at their word is that this
is entertainment. This is not necessarily what sets their agenda valueS.
The entertainment — it’s the entertainment value that they are focused
on, that pepsi is focused on. Now to the extent that you have a problem,
and I agree with you in that sense, we really have potential problems with
the corrosive nature of some aspects of american pop culture. However —
Bill: I got to stop you. You’re right. So don’t rationalize this guy’s
behavior. He’s being rewarded —
Leon: I have to add that —
Bill: He’s being rewarded by a major company and every american should
know it. I have to go, we appreciate your point of view. I have to go but
before I do, I’m going to quote John Belushi. No pepsi, coke.