There’s no doubt that brands are taking notice of the current political climate, but it doesn’t mean they always hit the mark when it comes to advertising. Case in point – Pepsi and its latest campaign featuring model of the moment Kendall Jenner. The video which showed a protest being ended by Jenner sharing a can of Pepsi with a police officer whilst a crowd cheers behind her, was only set to be aired overseas but with online as it is today and Jenner every tweeting the video it soon got people talking.
Backlash ensued with many people enraged by the connotations the ad showcased, especially as it followed protests such as The Women’s March. Initially defending the advert Pepsi said, “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." Yet people were still not convinced and continued to call it disrespectful and insensitive on social media.
Taking down the commercial from their YouTube site yesterday, Pepsi replied to the controversy with a statement saying, "Pepsi was trying to project a global a message of unity, peace and understanding," the company said in a statement posted on its website. "Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further roll out. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position."
See the best twitter reactions below:
I've been studying commercials for 30 years. Kendall's Pepsi ad is legitimately the worst one I've ever seen.— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) April 4, 2017