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Pepsi Atones For Heartless Portrayal Of Artichokes In TV Ad

March 2, 1993

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The Pepsi-Cola Co. on Tuesday patched up its differences with artichoke growers angered by Pepsi’s negative portrayal of the vegetable in a television commercial.

Pepsi and the California Artichoke Advisory Board sowed the seeds of goodwill by planting an artichoke patch underwritten by the soft drink giant.

The ad, aired during the Super Bowl, features a TV chef whose droning lecture on artichoke preparation is cut short by quick-cut scenes of frolicking Pepsi drinkers.

The advisory board - its slogan being ″Artichokes Are Fun To Eat″ - was not amused. The Pepsi ad ″undoes everything this board has been trying to do for more than 30 years - create a market for fresh artichokes,″ board manager Mary Comfort complained in a letter to Pepsi.

The upshot from discussions between the two sides was Tuesday’s ceremony, during which Pepsi regional general manager Larry Evans and reigning Artichoke Queen Andrea Woody, replete with artichoke necklace, planted cuttings. Woody’s most famous predecessor was Marilyn Monroe, crowned in 1947.

But the growers apparently changed their minds about the effect of the Pepsi ad itself on their $25 million-a-year crop. The spot was scheduled to run nationally again Tuesday night - this time with the artichoke board’s blessing.

″The Super Bowl commercial definitely brought attention to the artichoke,″ said Silvio Bernardi, the board’s vice president. ″It’s great to get the word out that artichoke eaters are lively, fun-loving people.″

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