Tone deaf Pepsi ad falls flat
With recent political movements garnering huge amounts of public support, companies have been trying to incorporate these movements into their advertising. This usually doesn’t turn out well. Companies have been trying to be progressive and “with-the-times,” but they have a bad habit of reading the situations poorly.
Pepsi’s recent commercial trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement was levied with a massive amount of much-warranted criticism. What did they think was going to happen? Kendall Jenner stops injustice by offering Pepsi and somehow the officer’s acceptance means that all violence will end?
Pepsi had good intentions, or at least not nefarious ones beyond their profit-margins, but their message was uninformed and offensive to people who are actually active in the movement. They meant to try and relate the empowering attitude of these movements to the attitudes people have about Pepsi. Not exactly a perfect fit, but someone obviously thought it was okay.
Kendall Jenner alone was not a good choice to try and tackle this commercial’s content, but they made her come across even worse as they portrayed her leaving her photo shoot to join at the end of the march.
The ad features a shot where Kendall Jenner is in the same position as Iesha Evans, an activist associated with Black Lives Matter, when she was facing off against police in Baton Rouge, La. That moment enraged many. Directly comparing Kendall Jenner, someone who has made her money off of her family’s name, to someone who constantly battles for equality was appalling.
Pepsi has strived to incorporate strong celebrity figures into their ads in order to improve their brand. In the past this has worked quite successfully. The Beyoncé, P!nk and Britney Spears ads come to mind as some that people were quite fond of. Beyoncé improves everything.
The ad on a whole seemed lost and confused. It sloppily tried to cull from recent movements, including the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter. It also used Kendall Jenner to get a celebrity endorsement, and featured the members of the march as “artists.”
Simply put, this ad was ineffective, poorly conceived and offensive to many. By trivializing the complicated and important issues real movements are attempting to tackle, Pepsi threatened the vital progress these groups have attained.