Yesterday, Pepsi released a commercial to kick-off its partnership with quintessential millennial Kendall Jenner (she's just so relatable!) and it was extremely problematic for using global protest movements to sell soda and reap profits.
After receiving tons of backlash on social media, the company released the following statement to Ad Week: "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."
However, the tweets, comments, and coverage of the tone-deaf clip, did not stop. As of April 5, Pepsi has pulled the spot from the airwaves and its Youtube page. Here's what they had to say: "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 removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position."
The commercial features Jenner, as a model, leaving a shoot and wiping off her lipstick to join a protest. Red flag number one: why can't you wear lipstick to a protest?
Then she hands a can of Pepsi to a cop who smiles and gladly accepts the "peace offering" and that's it, the protest is over!
Yeah, that's not how this works as evidenced by the side-by-side comparison to real-life events when Leisha Evans peacefully stood in the middle of the street at a Black Lives Matter protest while police in riot gear charged towards her and eventually put her under arrest. If only she had a Pepsi to offer none of this would've happened! (Kidding guys, kidding).
"Kendall Jenner ended police brutality with a Pepsi. so if a cop tries to beat or kill you hand them a Pepsi asap," one person tweeted. Another made the following suggestion, "[email protected], I'm assuming you'll be using the money you make to support @ACLU, @PPact, #CampaignZero + other social change. That's all I got."
Read more Twitter reactions here.
If you haven't seen the commercial yet, it's still up on the Kendall and Kylie Youtube channel. The model has yet to release a statement or acknowledge the controversy.