Ahead of Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines, odd billboards popped up on roadsides showing a photo of the religious leader, the Pepsi logo and a greeting. "Welcome His Holiness Pope Francis," they proclaimed.
The billboards concluded with a message from a local politician: "Greetings from Brgy Chairman Felibus 'FPJ' Papa Jr," according to photos shared on social media.
So who was responsible? The bottler did it.
"PepsiCo's local bottling partner in the Philippines put up a small number of billboards to commemorate the visit of the Pope," Jay Cooney, VP-corporate communications for PepsiCo, said Thursday in an emailed statement. "It is our company's global policy to not place our brands on any religious or political materials, and in accordance with this policy, when we learned of the billboards we immediately ensured they were taken down."
The statement also noted that PepsiCo employs people of many different backgrounds and faiths, and that "respect for diversity is one of the core values of our company."