Jason Kay's "Unfaithful" art project: Could it have saved Tiger Woods's relationship with Gatorade?

Late last week, PepsiCo announced that it was dropping its Gatorade endorsement deal with Tiger Woods, whose apology for nailing pretty much every trollop he laid eyes on didn't immediately heal his besmirched public image.

If only the powers at Pepsi had accepted a proposal from Longmont artist Jason Kay, who proposed that the firm underwrite his not-so-stealth repackaging of Gatorade containers with a label reading "Unfaithful." Here's his e-mail pitch to the company, which he touted as "good for Gatorade and good for art:"

I represent the artist doing the "UNFAITHFUL" pop art label in the Greater Denver Area. He's been buying the 1 QT Tropical Mango, replacing the label with his art label and then re-merchandising them in stores here for less than a week. In this short time several people have contacted me and the story has even made the local news. We're creating quite a buzz! People are making contact trying to buy directly from the artist but he is not interested in selling directly to individual collector.

The entire production is performance art at its finest!

The artist's personal aim is to get his work out into the public in a unique way and hopefully get people thinking and talking. The artist is interested in continuing to generate this buzz anonymously. Gatorade can participate unofficially (while denying this connection) by providing support to the artist for travel and per diem in various cities. Your product will sell and generate more demand for Gatorade. Two days are needed in each target city. Cities may be chosen by Gatorade to boost sales. This is the cheapest marketing campaign you could ever participate in. It is good for Gatorade and good for art.

As an example, the artist will wear a Gatorade t-shirt and act like a Gatorade employee. He will exchange 24 of his labeled bottles for 24 on the store's shelf. He will relabel those and do it again at the next store.

I assure you that the contents of each bottle remain safe and sealed and ready for consumption (or collecting) by the final consumer.

Contact me via this email address or call 303-709-____

Thank you for your time,

Jason Kay

Hard to imagine that would work -- but it certainly couldn't have proven any more disastrous for Pepsi than what happened anyhow over the past several months. Not that the scheme wound up being especially successful for Kay, who eventually pleaded guilty to one count of adulteration and removal of the labeling of a food while held for sale -- an admission that will likely earn him a probationary sentence.

Wrong move for Pepsi? Probably not -- but the company didn't prove any more faithful to Woods than he was to his wife.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts