Update: Pepsi has issued a statement in response to the severe backlash over their new commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. The statement says,
“This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey.”
Ok, well they clearly missed the point entirely. If you’d like to check out our critique of the ad please see below. Those who have yet to view the ad have missed their chance as Pepsi has already pulled it from the web.
4/4/2017: This is a new low, Pepsi. The iconic brand is now using all the tools in its arsenal to sell you Pepsi soda. The problem? It’s way, way off track.
The latest commercial features Kendall Jenner at a photo shoot while a generic rally is held in the background. The rally features people of color, young women, Muslim Americans, and possibly LGBTQ youth. After a protester invites Jenner to join, she rips off her wig, wipes off her makeup and steps into the action. She then hands a policeman a can of Pepsi.
Wow. So much to unpack here.
So the message is obviously that you should drink Pepsi to fuel your cool, hip, Kendall Jenner-filled protest. Yes, because our protests are often filled with Jenner memorabilia, aren’t yours? (We’re not even going to dive into the fact that Kendall has been basically silent politically with the exception of an nonpartisan “Vote” photo. But we’re going to leave that alone for now).
Let’s get one thing straight Pepsi: people are not protesting right now because they think it’s “cool.” We’re protesting because our rights are at stake. Because people who have lived here their whole lives are getting thrown out of the control. Because refugees and other international people who happen to be Muslim are not allowed in. And all those young women at the rally? They’re there because a sexist man who brags about his sexual assaults and who recently took away working women’s rights is currently the president.
So using our frustrations and concerns as a marketing ploy does not, in fact, make you seem “cool.” In fact, it makes you seem rather out-of-touch. Do you want to help protestors? How about taking action? How about showing up to rallies and showing your support?
And we haven’t even gotten into the worst part of this ad.
The scene where Kendall Jenner hands a Pepsi to a police officer — it seems familiar, doesn’t it? It’s because it’s the same visual you saw when a woman at a Black Lives Matter rally calmly approached a pair of policemen.
So not only are they using the Black Lives Matter movement for their own monetary gain, but they are also replacing a young black woman with a rich, white model. Gross.
There are so many issues with this Pepsi commercial and we just can’t jump on board with a brand using equal rights to sell soda.