UNITED STATES—Whoa, last week was not a good week for the soda drink company Pepsi. That ad they released mid-week with reality star and model Kendall Jenner in the forefront received so MUCH backlash, the titan was forced to pull the ad from airwaves. Now I will be the first to admit, I was flabbergasted by the media uproar on the ad. “I mean what is the big deal!”
However, after having a moment to digest the ad, I can see all the uproar that erupted on social media. For one, the Pepsi ad was about a protest. Considering the nation has been under so much tension with the recent Presidential Election, Black Lives Matter movement, and countless other movements in the social arena, that is a touchy subject matter to play with.
In addition to that caveat, the ad does not really signify what the ‘protest’ is aimed at. You have some ideas, but at the same time, you can only infer without having concrete evidence. Then, enter Kendall Jenner who is modeling, when she witnesses the protest and decides to take action. It’s a bit far-fetched, and rarely does that happen in real-time, so Pepsi did push the boundaries with that narrative. She walks through the crowd grabbing smiles along the way, before taking a moment to grab a can of Pepsi, as a police barricade stands in front.
In a moment of hesitation, Jenner gives the Pepsi can to the officer, who is hesitant at first, but later opens the can. With the snap of a finger, the crowd unleashes in uproar as it seems all is well. This is a problem, because if it were ever that damn simple to solve a social issue, don’t you think everyone would hand over a can of Pepsi to the police to call a truce?
Yeah, Pepsi jumped the gun if they seriously thought throwing a can of Pepsi into the mix would solve all of our social issues. Life is not that simple, and to be honest, if you’re an African-American approaching the authorities in the midst of a heated protest and you’re reaching your hand out, there is a good chance you might get shot. I hate to say that, but it’s just the culture of the world that we live in currently.
Now the entire media backlash regarding Kendall Jenner I think is a bit much, she’s a model, and yes she probably has people around her who should have been a bit more aware that this commercial may not have been the biggest highlight in her popularity. In addition, I’m not really certain how Pepsi could fathom an ad of this magnitude, with a climate as intense as it is right now, would not rub some people the wrong way.
Some are throwing in the element that Jenner, who many deem to be White, can jump in and save the day from all those who have been oppressed. I mean when some people take jabs they really take jabs and have no shame in their game. However, this is the nature of the world we live in because we allow everyone the opportunity to have their opinion, and because of that they just HAVE to voice how they feel no matter how vicious or nasty it is along the way.
Simply put, Pepsi you screwed up royally! If you plan to run a TV ad that is tackling a social issue, you better get a bit more input than just the ideas from those in the marketing room. Do I suspect this ad will cause people to stop drinking Pepsi? Hell no, people will always drink Pepsi; it’s a battle between Coca-Cola that will be ongoing for as long as these two companies are in business.