How Not to Pull Off an Art Stunt…

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Publicity Stunts

Pop Artist Arrested For Gatorade Prank Involving Tiger Woods and Wife Elin Nordegren
blogs.wsj.com
by Evan Perez
January 13, 2010

tigerdrinks-200Federal authorities arrested a Colorado man who allegedly relabeled bottles of Gatorade with pictures of golf star Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren and the word “unfaithful” as part of a pop art stunt.

Federal prosecutors in Denver on Wednesday charged Jason Eric Kay, 38 years old, with misbranding and altering food labels.

“From the onset, our primary concern has been the safety of our consumers and the integrity of our products,” said Karen May, a Gatorade spokesperson.

According to an affidavit signed by a Food and Drug Administration criminal investigation agent, Mr. Kay, an unemployed artist, bought one-quart bottles of Tropical Mango flavor Gatorade at stores in the Denver area and relabeled the bottles with labels he created using a photocopier at Kinko’s. The bottles were unopened and the product inside wasn’t tampered with. The bar codes functioned. The new label contained a Yahoo email address to contact the artist. The bottles were put on store shelves in the Denver area.

According to the FDA agent, Mr. Kay said in an interview that he was trying emulate Andy Warhol, who drew attention with pop art pieces based on Campbell’s Soup can labels and other commercial products. Mr. Kay said he chose the Tiger Woods image because he wanted to “get people talking about how stupid the whole thing with Tiger Woods is,” according to the FDA agent.

According to the FDA affidavit, Mr. Kay contacted PepsiCo Inc., which produces Gatorade, to suggest working together. “This is the cheapest marketing campaign you could ever participate in,” Mr. Kay wrote in an email cited in the FDA affidavit. “It is good for Gatorade and good for art.”

Mr. Kay, in his contact with PepsiCo, provided his phone number and email address, which is the same one FDA investigators used to find him. Mr. Kay didn’t respond to a call seeking comment.