Pepsico Inc. on Thursday canceled plans for a massive call-in contest during Sunday’s Super Bowl after talking with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission about overburdening the nation’s telephone networks.
Each household that called a toll-free number was to have received a coupon for a free two-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi. Three lucky callers were to have won $1 million each.
“As world events have continued to develop, concerns about consumer access to phone lines have become of prime importance. We did not want to do anything that would have even the slightest chance of disrupting our nation’s ability to communicate,” said David Novak, Pepsi’s executive vice president of marketing and sales.
Pepsi still plans to run five 60-second commercials during the game.
Pepsi had expected to give away 1 million free bottles of soda and said the telephone lines were prepared to handle 3 million incoming calls during the promotion.
Callers were to dial the toll-free number between the kickoff and the end of the third quarter.
Callers would have reached a recorded message from Diet Pepsi pitchman Ray Charles asking them to sing the Diet Pepsi theme. The recording would have asked callers for their name and address.
The plan was to announce the winners during a 30-second commercial immediately after the game, Pepsi said.