Yesterday, Pepsi released a new commercial starring Kendall Jenner, in line with their past celebrity driven ads. Other celebs that were featured in previous Pepsi ads were Christina Aguilera, Pink, Beyoncé and even the Spice Girls. However, you won’t be seeing the new ad playing in public or on sites anytime soon, because in a span of 24 hours, the commercial has caused such a public uproar that Pepsi is pulling the ad completely.
After removing the ad (though everyone knows that once it’s on the internet, it’ll be there forever), Pepsi released a statement on their official website:
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further roll-out. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
Missed the mark indeed. Though the intent came from a good place, the execution was poorly done. The ad depicts a bunch of young creatives and talents from different ethnic backgrounds, frustrated and coming together to protest on an issue. Kendall caught a glimpse of the protest happening on the streets and left her outdoor photoshoot to join them. At the end, Kendall hands a can of Pepsi to a police officer who was blocking the protest and everyone (inexplicably) cheers and drinks soda together.
Naturally, Twitter went on a rampage and tore the ad apart. People called Pepsi out for disrespecting real protests on socio-political issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Many are accusing Pepsi for capitalizing on the current state of political tension and social instability in order to sell a couple cans of soda. The reactions range from pure anger to hilarious observations of cringe-worthy moments in the ad, such as the cheesy signs that the “protestors” held and how Kendall has probably never held a can of soda in her life.
Kendall Jenner has no idea how to hold a soda can pic.twitter.com/H2hPuPKBzf
— march sadness (@rachelmillman) April 4, 2017
me in three parts pic.twitter.com/QSHq0BnzNo
— Mike Hinson (@HinsonMike) April 4, 2017
The protest signs in the Pepsi ad are hilarious. They're so meaningless and generic it's like reading Sim City billboards. pic.twitter.com/9VIZspYdzz
— Tom + Lorenzo® (@tomandlorenzo) April 5, 2017
Pepsi CEO: WE NEED A NEW COMMERCIAL! IDEAS!
Intern: Police brutality!
CEO: go on…
Intern: KENDALL JENNER!
CEO: Rick, you're a genius… pic.twitter.com/mmPVKrZghG
— X (@XLNB) April 5, 2017
The cop's face at the end. ? "You know, this thin white woman makes a good point. Pepsi MIGHT BE better than state violence!" pic.twitter.com/kaPiAvmyQQ
— Olivia A. Cole (@RantingOwl) April 4, 2017
I AM SCREAMING pic.twitter.com/3aWFdvmz5j
— reggie (@1942bs) April 4, 2017
When the ad was released, Pepsi initially defended it by saying, “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.” Eventually they buckled under the public pressure and removed the ad entirely, releasing an official apology. Kendall has yet to release a public statement on this debacle but sources are reporting that she is “devastated”. She has removed all her tweets and Instagram posts that promoted the ad. It’s quite unfortunate that she will be the unintentional face of the whole backlash, despite her lack of involvement in the production and execution of the whole thing.
Whether this will affect her modeling career (doubt it), we have to wait and see. But it’s safe to say that many will be cracking into a can of Coca-cola today instead.
Check out the re-uploaded ad here, sans music due to obvious copyright reason:
By Hanan Haddad