1/24/97 -- 4:54 PM

Super Bowl-Tostitos,0662


NEW YORK (AP) - Frito-Lay Inc. dropped plans to run a Super Bowl commercial featuring a bungee jump after a woman practicing a similar leap for the game's halftime show died after striking her head on the Superdome floor.

``Under the circumstances, the only respectful and right thing to do is to run another commercial,'' Frito-Lay spokeswoman Lynn Markley said Friday.

The situation demonstrated the often unforeseen risks advertisers take when trying to capture the exuberance of the people they are trying to reach through their commercials.

Frito-Lay's sister company, Pepsi-Cola, has used shots of professional bungee jumpers and other daredevils in ads for the soft drink Mountain Dew.

Seven years ago, Reebok quickly discontinued using a commercial that showed two men using bungee cords to jump from a bridge and only one returning.

Frito-Lay planned to run a commercial on Sunday's Super Bowl telecast that appears to show comic-actor Chris Elliott taking a bungee dive from a blimp to within inches of a football field below.

The character has a Tostitos tortilla chip clenched between his teeth as he jumps, and he dips the chip into a salsa jar set in the middle of the football field before the bungee cord pulls him back to the blimp.

The ad has been run frequently on other television programs for the past month and was one of two commercials that the Pepsico Inc. snack food subsidiary was going to run during the Super Bowl on the Fox network.

The game for the championship of the National Football League is being played in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

But on Thursday night, Laura Patterson, 43, of Sarasota, Fla., died after striking her head on the Superdome floor while practicing a bungee jump for the halftime show.

Mrs. Patterson was part of a 16-member professional bungee-jumping group. The rehearsal was to have been the last before Sunday's performance.

Markley said Frito-Lay hasn't decided what will run in place of the bungee jumper ad but added there are ``a lot of different things we are looking at.''

In its other Super Bowl game ad, the puppet Miss Piggy falls for a handsome man in a restaurant but then slugs him when he tries to take some of her Baked Lay's potato chips.

Markley said Frito-Lay hasn't retired the bungee commercial permanently.

``It was very well-received when it ran in the month of January. It was terribly sad what happened in the Superdome. However, we expect to run the commercial again sometime this year,'' she said.

In 1990, Reebok International Ltd. discontinued an ad that used bungee jumping to illustrate how tightly its Pump basketball shoes fit.

In the ad, two men with bungee cords tied to their ankles - one wearing Reeboks and the other wearing a rival brand - from a bridge. After a moment out of sight, the man in Reeboks bounces back into sight. Empty shoes sway in the breeze from the other cord.

Dave Fogelson, a spokesman for Reebok, said the ad was discontinued because of concerns it might encourage copycat jumps by people who didn't appreciate the risks of what they were doing.

He said Frito-Lay has ``certainly has done the right thing'' in pulling its bungee commercial from the Super Bowl telecast.

But he also said Frito-Lay was right to leave open the option of using the commercial again someday. So-called extreme sports like bungee jumping and snowboarding ``are on the airwaves every day'' and people generally are more knowledgeable than seven years ago about the risks, Fogelson said.

So who can blame advertisers for using the sports to make a connection to people they want as customers, he asks.

``They are reflecting what people are doing in real life,'' he said.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.