Pepsi, Beckham Part Ways After a Decade
January 4, 2009 8:30 PM
After 10 years, Pepsi won’t be bending it with David Beckham anymore.
The soft drink behemoth and the celebrity soccer star agreed to part ways last week, a decision both sides described in statements as mutual. But Pepsi’s decision to walk away from Mr. Beckham, coming as it does on the heels of his disappointing, injury-riddled second season with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, raises questions over whether Mr. Beckham’s marketability is fading along with his footwork. After all, shortly after he signed the much-ballyhooed deal with MLS in 2007, Mr. Beckham split with one of his largest sponsors, Gillette. Reports on the cause of that split differed: Some said Mr. Beckham wanted more control over his image than Gillette would allow. Others said the move to the U.S., where soccer is a minor sport, made Mr. Beckham less useful to Gillette because it lowered his profile in Europe and Asia, where the brand used him most. Mr. Beckham’s split with Pepsi also comes after reports during the summer that he was weighing launching his own line of bottled waters.
In a statement, Mr. Beckham said, “I have nothing but good memories of my 10-year association with Pepsi. Along the journey, I’ve played a gladiator, a cowboy and a surfer, and worked alongside Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez as well as some of the biggest names in world football. I hope everyone who has seen the work Pepsi and I have done together enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it and, who knows, there may yet be another chapter in this long relationship.” Pepsi said, “We wish David well with the many projects he is pursuing and look forward to the possibility of partnering together with him again someday.”
—Jeremy Mullman and Natalie Zmuda, Advertising Age