Pepsi has released a new advertisement starring model Kendall Jenner, with the aim to spread the message of love and peace, but the ad was removed within 24 hours after it was first posted as it received backlash from social media users, which criticised it for trivialising protest movements.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize,” Pepsi wrote in a statement on Wednesday.
“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.”
Released on Tuesday, the two-and-a-half-minute ad features Jenner, who is in the middle of a photo shoot, happen to notice a protest march with generic signs like “peace”, “love” and “join the conversation” – making its way down the street.
Jenner then wipes off her makeup and takes off her wig to join the protest, but the part that makes people pissed off the most is when Jenner reaches the front-line of the protest, hands a can of Pepsi to one of the officers, prompting a smile from the officer, and thus there are cheers from the crowd – geez, if only protests were that easy!
The ad has sparked accusations that Pepsi is trivialising important movements like the Women’s Marches, Black Lives Matter protests, demonstrations outside Trump Tower, and the overall racial tension in America to their advantage.
The image of Jenner approaching a line of police officers was compared to a widely shared photo of Ieshia Evans, a black woman who stood calmly in the face of police protestors during a Black Lives Matter protest last year.
The video has sparked plenty of reactions; some of those who mocked the ad include Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, and DeRay Mckesson, a prominent member of the Black Lives Matter movement.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 5, 2017
If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would’ve gotten arrested. Who knew?
— deray mckesson (@deray) April 5, 2017
If this #Pepsi ad is the choice of a new generation, Im gonna need that generation to turn in its badge.
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) April 5, 2017
“Kendall please! Give him a Pepsi!” pic.twitter.com/IntFNmCpTr
— Zito (@_Zeets) April 4, 2017
— bri (@bigshitxtalker) April 4, 2017
The worst part of the Pepsi commercial is when Kendall decides to protest racism by making a black woman hold her wig. pic.twitter.com/NEfSwXqJvm
— Sean Kent (@seankent) April 5, 2017
— Godfrey Elfwick (@GodfreyElfwick) April 4, 2017
Daaaaamn. I forgot my Pepsi at home pic.twitter.com/M3Up1eRa37
— Luisa Haynes (@wokeluisa) April 5, 2017
“They ain’t have no more damn Pepsi at the store!” pic.twitter.com/lVb8hA7Feo
— malibu nova (@theBrittdoll) April 5, 2017
The Pepsi president of marketing in tomorrow morning’s meeting: pic.twitter.com/ULhHiVuO9n
— Brett Kreis (@IdealGasLaw) April 5, 2017
800 years of oppression and all we needed to do was hand the Brits a can of #Pepsi?! If only we knew! ? pic.twitter.com/OvR4G1QYet
— Cormac Moore (@CormacComedy) April 5, 2017
“Now just wait one second officers.
I have a Pepsi.” pic.twitter.com/NW0sddKOOI
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 5, 2017
and to think, all rodney king needed to avoid that beating was a pepsi
— Ziwe (@ziwe) 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
If a black girl tried to give a cop a Pepsi in a protest march, I’m pretty sure he’d give her a Dr Pepper spray in return #PepsiLivesMatter
— ItsAllAboutTheMané (@KloppClips) April 5, 2017
“Aye…tell Jesse to get a 6-pack of Pepsi and bring it to Selma. I’ll explain later…” pic.twitter.com/5VElyQqC0W
— Suge Night Shyamalan (@B_Effin_G) April 5, 2017
— Will (@YeahItsWilly) April 5, 2017