Pepsi fight back

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sweet journey.jpg UPDATE: Literally as I was hitting "publish" on this post, I got a message from one of the "indie integrity bandwagon" jumpers to say he'd just posted on it. I think you know who I mean. You can read his response here.

Remember back in April when Pepsi announced they were doing a Battle of the Bands contest? Any initial excitement was quickly nipped in the bud when the preliminary rounds of the competition descended into farce: poor production values (if any), ignorant presenters and judges, plus a lot of disrespect to the bands.

Pu Pu of The Mushrooms (a band whose t-shirt you can see on one of the members of Sweet Journey on the right here ironically) decided to take a stand together with Zhang Haisheng against the competition and announced that they would be boycotting the competition. Numerous other bands joined them, while Pinkberry went on to win the Shanghai round.

Well the competition is still going on apparently (minus Pinkberry now) and it has an English-language blog to accompany it. The blog talks to various people behind the scenes and discusses the show and issues associated with it, though fails to mention anything about the massive recent accident in Guangzhou where people are rumoured to have been killed and where Pepsi apparently ordered a press blackout.

Anyway, nearly three months after the boycott, Pepsi have hit back, belittling the bands' stance and chiding them for boycotting an event that was clearly packaged as corporate from the off. Here's a taster:

But after some initial production snafus, people from the indie scene decided to condemn the show and encourage other bands not to participate. Basically they were offended by the preliminary competition: lousy sound engineering, overt branding, no bowl of brown M&Ms, et cetera.

Also, they were insulted by the judges' comments, guys who clearly had no clue about music. So a couple of "prominent scene figures" organized a boycott, and a lot of bands dropped out and started talking smack online. A few English language bloggers chimed in, jumping on the indie integrity bandwagon and charging that Pepsi doesn't respect rock.

There are many valid reasons for bands not to take part in Battle of the Bands. And the production at the Shanghai round was pretty lame. But to quit over production hiccups, and then whine that the show isn't sufficiently indie? Do you or do you not want to be a mainstream rock star?
The competition and the lack or respect shown to the bands caused a lot of anger at the time. Will stirring it all up now, mocking the bands and dissing "prominent scene figures" help heal the wounds? Hmm. Maybe it's just as well the post is written anonymously. You can read the whole thing, which goes on to quote Abe Deyo, in full here.

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