There are a lot of questions swirling around Pepsi's gloriously tone-deaf new advertising campaign, in which Kendall Jenner plays a model who joins an ambiguous protest filled with a carefully curated crowd, then harnesses the power of soda to bring about world peace.
Who the hell thought it was a good idea for a major corporation to co-opt the visuals of the Black Lives Matter/anti-Trump Resistance protests to sell soda? It certainly wasn't the colorful assortment of Millennials featured in the ad, which is something really stupid people actually believe. Even Don Draper, the man who (fictionally) came up with the world's most famous Coke ad, would be disgusted with this amateur hour.
The Stages of Pepsi Reactions pic.twitter.com/nuGCLOtBRP
— Dianna McDougall (@DiannaMcD) April 5, 2017
The "Live For Now Moments Anthem" campaign was released this week with this embarrassing explainer attached, a vague word soup of meaningless buzz phrases which could only have come from the minds of oblivious marketing people (shoutout to the creative team at Creators League Studio, Pepsi's in-house team):
A short film about the moments when we decide to let go, choose to act, follow our passion and nothing holds us back. Capturing the spirit and actions of those people that jump in to every moment and featuring multiple lives, stories and emotional connections that show passion, joy, unbound and uninhibited moments. No matter the occasion, big or small, these are the moments that make us feel alive.
No matter the occasion! Whether you're fighting the growing tide of fascism or playing your cello (Why is the super-sweaty cello player performing for no one on a dystopian helipad?! How did he get himself down from the roof to an artfully-assembled apartment below?! Does he have access to futuristic transporter technology???), whether you're directly referencing the award-winning photo of Ieshia Evans offering her hands for arrest to a group of riot-gear-clad police officers or ripping off a Chemical Brothers music video from 1999, Pepsi will be there to boost your risk of stroke and elevate your blood pressure.
So far, Pepsi is standing by its commercial, telling AdWeek: "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." Which is interesting, because literally no one had that particular takeaway after viewing the ad.
"Now just wait one second officers.
I have a Pepsi." pic.twitter.com/NW0sddKOOI
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 5, 2017
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) April 4, 2017
"I am thrilled to join the legendary roster of icons who have represented their generations and worked with Pepsi," Kendall Jenner said in a statement. "To me, Pepsi is more than just a beverage—it registers as a pop culture icon and a lifestyle that shares a voice with the generation of today. The spirit of Pepsi—living in the ‘now’ moment—is one that I believe in. I make a conscious effort in my everyday life and travels to enjoy every experience of today." The whole Kardashian/Jenner crew is proud of her.
— Kris Jenner (@KrisJenner) April 4, 2017
But the rest of the nation offered some less supportive feedback...
How does no one involved in the creative process here recognize the fuck up here? Hire black people. https://t.co/QjG0CiwiQh
— roxane gay (@rgay) April 4, 2017
— Will (@YeahItsWilly) April 5, 2017
Hell yeah I hope the militarized police force beats the shit out of me while enjoying a cool, refreshing Pepsi™ https://t.co/E7NgU9uTwS
— Dan Ozzi (@danozzi) April 4, 2017
Jenner may also find that people are making a conscious effort in their everyday lives to make fun of her a lot more now:
*kendall jenner hands cop a pepsi*
cop: im not racist anymore
— BRANDON WARDELL (@BRANDONWARDELL) April 4, 2017
theory: that Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad is actually a Coke ad
— Chris Gayomali (@chrisgayomali) April 4, 2017
Pepsi: Remember when we set Michael Jackson's hair on fire, sending him into a spiral of painkiller addiction? Let's do a worse ad than that
— Pixelated Boat (@pixelatedboat) April 4, 2017
Someone ping Breitbart and James O'Keefe, I found their paid protester. pic.twitter.com/FqyjdihrrM
— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) April 5, 2017
In case Pepsi is open to re-thinking their campaign in a less offensive direction... pic.twitter.com/6rMltQOEko
— Adam Scott (@mradamscott) April 5, 2017
"Hi, I'm Rachel Dolezal for Crystal Pepsi"
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) April 4, 2017
Update 1 p.m.: Could it get worse? Yes it can.
think the pepsi thing can't get any worse? you guessed it! that's not arabic. https://t.co/bS3GhU80tC
— Ramsey Nasser (@ra) April 5, 2017
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s youngest daughter Bernice King also weighed in:
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 5, 2017
Update 1:11 p.m.: Pepsi has now announced that in the face of the massive backlash, they are pulling the ad.
Pepsi has announced that they're pulling the controversial Kendall Jenner ad: pic.twitter.com/45gUpuxI2P
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) April 5, 2017
Proving once again that @dril is a prophet:
ah, So u persecute Jared Fogle just because he has different beliefs? Do Tell. (girls get mad at me) Sorry. Im sorry. Im trying to remove it
— wint (@dril) November 1, 2015