Image: Diet Pepsi Skinny Can
AP
Brand experts praised the new design but say the company may be a bit off on its sales pitch that skinny is better.
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updated 2/11/2011 6:18:55 PM ET 2011-02-11T23:18:55

Diet Pepsi has introduced a new "skinny" can for Fashion Week, but some critics are giving it a big, fat "no."

The can is a "taller, sassier" version of the traditional can that the company says was made in "celebration of beautiful, confident women." Some say Pepsi's approach only reinforces dangerous stereotypes about women and body image.

PepsiCo Inc. presented the new can at New York's Fashion Week, which began Thursday. It will be available to consumers nationwide in March.

The company, a Fashion Week sponsor, is hosting a series of events to launch the new can, include collaborations with popular designers such as Charlotte Ronson and Betsey Johnson.

"Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today's most stylish looks, and we're excited to throw its coming-out party during the biggest celebration of innovative design in the world," Jill Beraud, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo said in a statement.

Critics say it is nothing to celebrate.

Brand experts praised the new design but say the company may be a bit off on its sales pitch that skinny is better. The National Eating Disorders Association said it takes offense to the can and said the company's comments are both "thoughtless and irresponsible."

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Libby Copeland summed up many of the criticisms in an article for Slate.

"Same old story - aspirational, looks-oriented advertising with a thin layer of faux-empowerment on top," Copeland wrote. "If you're confident on the inside, you'll be skinny on the outside, or something. Huh?"

Pepsi said that can and its campaign are focused on design.

"We are sensitive to this interpretation, and that is definitely not our intent," the company said in an e-mailed statement. "We intend to highlight the innovative look for Diet Pepsi and provide our fans with an "inside look" at events that celebrate innovation and style."

The company will take its campaign one step further on Feb. 28 when it launches a print advertisement for the new can featuring the buxom actress Sofia Vergara.

Pepsi says it will continue to sell its traditional-sized can.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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