So, what’s the big deal about the Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner? ***You can watch the full add below before they take it down.*** It shows Kendall Jenner leaving a photoshoot, joining an ongoing protest and then giving a Pepsi to a police officer. However, the devil is in the details, and what the ad implies is where the problems arise. The public outcry has been so large that Pepsi has stopped running the ad.
Why People are Calling the Ad “Tone-Deaf”
There are a number of complaints about the advertisement, but I will just mention a few of them. The people marching in the ad are supposed to represent the various disenfranchised protesters of the last few years. Perhaps even more specifically, they were meant to represent “Black Lives Matter” protesters, because the ad was actually released on the date of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bernice King, daughter of Dr. King, tweeted this response to the ad (pictured). “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.” It is awful to insinuate that all we needed for inequality and injustice to be eradicated is for a privileged white girl to start giving out fizzy drinks. It also degrades the multi-decade struggle for civil rights that ultimately claimed the life of Dr. King and others.
What was Pepsi Trying to say?
After the backlash, Pepsi had this to say by way of an apology: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding.” The only part they left out is that they were also trying to sell more soda; everything else was true. However, their honesty and good intentions do not help the fact that the ad truly is tone-deaf. Clearly, it is a grotesque lovechild of stuffy, “out of touch” executives at Pepsi and Creators League Studio ( their agency).
Unfortunately, this whole debacle reminds me of all the corporate fails, where companies fall flat on their faces trying to “highjack” trending hashtags and then get put in their places by trolls on Twitter!