Pepsi Ad Sparks Controversy
By Alondra Alacron
Pepsi released an ad on youtube and social media starring Kendall Jenner on April 4, 2017. The commercial was less than two minutes and sparked a lot of controversy.
The commercial showed people protesting in the streets, surrounded by police. Later in the add, Kendall steps out from the crowd and hands a can of Pepsi to a police man. The man smiles after siping on his Pepsi and then the crowd cheers . The commercial showed similar events to the Black Lives Matter protests from last year as well as LGBT protests too. The last scene of the ad had similar comparison to a particular picture of activist Leshia Evans at the Baton Rouge protest last July.
Many have called the ad "exploitative brand activism."
When it was aired on social media it didn't take long for people to address their opinions about the ad. A majority of people were outraged. Some even took a humored approach to show how insensitive the ad was being.
"No brand can appropriate sensitive political events without coming off as clueless and inauthentic" said CNN's journalist Barbara Lippert
People have also pointed out that the police officers' badges are very similar to ones the San Francisco Police have, which means Pepsi may face a law suit from San Francisco Police.
"There's a lot of controversy involving the advertisement, and we don't want to be involved in the controversy" said San Fran's officer spokesperson Robert Rueca.
Many have reached out to the director regarding his intentions for publishing the ad. He stated that he was influenced from a famous a 1967 photo of a Vietnam War demonstration. The photo is of Jan Rose Kaesmir holding a flower in front of the officers. ABC 7 and others have reached out to her about her thoughts about her photo being influenced for the ad. She talked to ABC 7 in a FaceTime interview.
"The real issues right now with peace and what's going on in the world are so much heavier than handing someone a unhealthy drink and bringing everyone together" said Jan Rose .
Since then the ad has been pulled and was not broadcast on TV. Pepsi released a statement apologizing the following day to everyone who was offended by the ad and to Kendall Jenner.
"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 issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendal Jenner in this position."
Kendall has not publicly commented anything regarding the controversial ad. She remains hidden from the spotlight.