Challenging Pepsi

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.

Take the Pepsi challenge. Well, forget it. I am challenging Pepsi over its choice of a paid spokesman. That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

On the MTV Award program, Pepsi-Cola will run commercials featuring the rapper Ludacris, who some consider more vile than Eminem, if that's possible. Ludacris spouts the usual antisocial nonsense that enthralls people like Elton John and apparently the executives that run Pepsi.

Some examples from the artist known as Ludacris. "I'm DUI, hardly ever caught sober, and you about to get ran the f--- over. Grab the peels, cuz we robbin' tonight. Beat the s--- outta security. We startin' a fight."

Very nice. "And I been drankin' and bustin' too, and I been thankin' of bustin' you upside your F-in' forehead."

Apparently all that is fine with Pepsi.

On The Radio Factor today, I spoke with Pepsi Public Relations guy Bart Casabona.


BART CASABONA, PEPSI SPOKESMAN: Ludacris is one of today's most popular performers, and he's broadly appealing among teens of all ethnicities.


CASABONA: And that's really what we target with these, you know, advertisements.

O'REILLY: So you don't really care about his morals or the message that he puts out?

CASABONA: Well, for us, it's really about how he's portrayed in our advertising. As you see in a -- our commercials, if you had a chance to view them, we capitalize on his ability to connect with our target audience in a relevant manner.

O'REILLY: Say you had a guy who was connecting with young people and he was anti-Semitic. Would you use him?

CASABONA: Well, you know, I really can't play in the what-if scenarios...

O'REILLY: And so it's possible?

CASABONA: ... but I could tell you again that, you know, the Q-scores among teens are, for Ludacris, are as high or higher than any other celebrity we've used in the past advertising. And...

O'REILLY: So it does, yes, but, you see, the problem I'm having is that that's true, this true, and it's a shrewd advertising move to use a guy who's going to get you attention in a community that you want to sell soda to. There's no question about that. I'm not arguing that.


O'REILLY: What I'm arguing is that you're legitimizing a man who is demeaning just about everybody, and is peddling antisocial behavior. You have no conscious qualms about that?

CASABONA: I mean, obviously, you know, we would never associate our trademarks with inappropriate behavior. Ludacris, in our ads, are -- is certainly focused about conveying fun, optimistic messages to our audience.

O'REILLY: Fun, optimistic messages?

CASABONA: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Have you heard is songs?

CASABONA: I'm speaking about our advertising.

O'REILLY: Oh, OK. So you're separating your ad copy from what he does on his songs.

CASABONA: We're -- again, you know, this is about how we portray him in our advertising.


O'REILLY: Yes. Well, Mr. Casabona declined to come on the television Factor because he knows his argument's weak.

Anyway, the point is that Pepsi's legitimizing the rapper, as I said, giving him far more exposure than he would ordinarily get. Yes, it's probably an effective marketing tool, but what about the good of the country?

Pepsi-Cola's made gazillions of dollars in America but apparently feels it has no responsibility to further the public good. This guy Ludacris is harmless to mature adults, but not to impressionable children that lack parental guidance.

Obviously Pepsi could not care less about those children, because they're promoting a man that espouses violence, degrading sex, and substance abuse.

So here's the deal, Pepsi. You want to cultivate Ludacris? Fine. I'm drinking Coke. I'm sending you a message. I don't like your choice of pitchmen, so Dr. Pepper is now on my menu.

And the Pepsi brain trust should remember what Machiavelli once said, "When you dine with the devil, bring a long spoon." I don't like Pepsi's dining companion, so I'm drinking the competition.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

File this one under making a bad situation worse. 

Charles DiGiglio crashed his car into a school bus after falling asleep at the wheel. In court he told the judge he had a good excuse, that he was up all night. The judge asked why. DiGiglio said because he was making counterfeit checks.

This guy should go to law school.

He's now been charged with forgery as well as smacking into the bus. He should also be charged with being ridiculous and dumb as a stump. That carries 10 years in some states.

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