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Pepsi Apologise for Cristiano Ronaldo Voodoo Doll Adverts

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 15:  Mikael Lustig of Sweden remonstrates with Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off First Leg between Portugal and Sweden at Estadio da Luz on November 15, 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Mark PattersonUK Staff WriterNovember 21, 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo's superb hat-trick sealed a World Cup place for Portugal at Sweden's expense in their World Cup play-off, but one attempt to knock Ronaldo off his stride has led to an apology.

Pepsi in Sweden ran a series of adverts showing Ronaldo as a voodoo doll, in a series of less-than-comfortable positions.

Rather than have either of its presumable desired effects—boosting the brand's popularity and helping Sweden through—it merely created a backlash.

As Yahoo! Sports' Dirty Tackle blog explains, not only did Sweden bow out, but 116,000 Facebook users (and rising) in Portugal signed up to a group vowing never to drink Pepsi again.

Pepsi Sweden (Facebook, subsequently deleted)

Pepsi has responded to the campaign by removing the voodoo ads (other campaigns included a Ronaldo doll covered in pins, and crushed by a Pepsi Max can). 

They have also issued an apology, as reported by Who Ate All The Pies:

We would never want to put the sport or the spirit of competition in a negative light. We regret if people were offended by the posts; they were immediately taken down. We would like to extend our apologies to all concerned.

In short, the moral of this story is not to mock Cristiano Ronaldo. Frankly, it rarely ends well.

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