An Australian version of this ad drew complaints post a recent spate of shark attacks.
The ASB on giving it the all clear noted consumers’ could interpret the ad as distrespectul given the recent shark attacks, but ruled it didn’t breach Section 2 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics and was in line with health and safety community standards.
The Bureau argued: “Catching or riding a shark is completely unrealistic and most of the community would see this as being fabricated for the purposes of selling the product”.
The brand, owned by Pepsico Australia Holdings, responded: “This commercial was not intended to be insensitive to those who may have suffered in shark attacks. The tone of the advertisment is humorous […] and clearly ‘over the top’ and not intended to replicate in way any real life experience.”
I think an interesting point is the depiction of the shark. Mountain Dew show the shark in full Jaws mode i.e. scary.
A similar effort from Arena takes a different and more relevant approach and is probably better for it. Sharks and any depiction of potential killer instinct at work is tricky at the best of times, let alone when the sharks are attacking swimmers.