Kendall Jenner Pepsi Protest Commercial Is Distasteful and Tone Deaf
Pepsi have been criticized for using a protest theme in a new commercial starring Kendall Jenner.
The ad shows the model posing for a photo shoot before catching the eye of a passing peace protest. She decides to join the group, which is flanked by police, and the sequence ends when Jenner hands an officer a can of Pepsi. He cracks a smile, the crowd cheers and social justice is served.
As of writing, the YouTube cut of the commercial on the Kendall and Kylie channel has 5,000 thumbs down to 1,000 thumbs up. The comments are full of cynicism, accusing the corporation of exploiting real life social unrest to market their product.
"...using important issues to increase sales is super offensive to the people involved in real problems," wrote YouTube user Melissa Flores. "Kendall has NEVER been involved in any protest, march or anything related to social justice."
The message behind the ad appears to be that of unity between races and cultures, and between activists and the police. Still, as another YouTuber points out: "This commercial is all kinds of tone deaf."
Indeed, who at Pepsi genuinely thought a cynical attempt at solidarity would paint them in a positive light?
Although some outlets have accused Pepsi of also cashing in on the Black Lives Matter movement, there is no overt sign in the video that this is the case. Multiple races are represented within the 'movement' and protester signs and placards are generic in nature.
Others have pointed out that the scene bares similarity to a photo from a protest in Baton Rouge in 2016, where a black woman approached riot police.
Perhaps she should have given them a Pepsi?
The corporation itself has used all kinds of nonsensical jargon to describe the shorter 30 second cut on the Pepsi Global channel. Apparently it's "a short film about the moments when we decide to let go, choose to act, follow our passion and nothing holds us back."
Of course it is!
Jenner was "honoured" about becoming the first model since Cindy Crawford to have a global Pepsi campaign. "To me, Pepsi is more than just a beverage- it registers as a pop culture icon & a lifestyle that shares a voice with the generation of today," said the reality TV star.
However she has since gone quiet on Twitter amidst hundreds of negative Tweets in response to her sharing of the clip. One Twitter user called it a "PR Nightmare." Another suggested there are "too many 'yes men' sitting around board rooms these days."
User @theprezashley summed things up, Tweeting: "Aw Kendall Jenner who's never had a single struggle in her life ends all conflict ever with a can of soda what beautiful bs."
The ad campaign is set to run until the end of the year, though that might change in light of the controversy. If the purpose of a commercial is to endear people to your brand, this has been a spectacular failure.
Pepsi have yet to comment.Posted by KeelanB at April 5, 2017 10:30 AM