Every once and a while a company decides it’s time for a new commercial with an amazing message behind it. While many of them succeed in their goal, others tend to fall flat and fizz out. The Pepsi Company did just that. It wanted to “project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding” (their words not mine).
Watch it yourself:
I understand what they were trying to do and everything, but that wasn’t the way to go. It’s a no-brainer that America is currently dealing with some racial tension and the effects of police brutality. So, choosing one of the most privileged humans on this planet was not a good choice to start with. The backlash Pepsi and Kendall Jenner received was one the harshest I’ve seen in a while. Mather Luther King Jr.’s own daughter even chimed in.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 5, 2017
The fact that @pepsi think it's cool to commercialize the times we live in to sell a soda using a girl who's never marched for anything. Wtf
— Miss Fame (@MissFameNYC) April 5, 2017
"BUT I GAVE Y'ALL A PEPSI!!!" pic.twitter.com/49mHcUimSj
— Jamil (@Juhmil) April 5, 2017
It’s understandable that companies would want their commercials to gravitate towards the message of peace and unity. That’s something so many people want to achieve, but if they are going to tackle those messages, they need to do their research first. There have been so many marches in the past two years on police brutality. The marketing team at Pepsi Co.TM should have known this. If you’re going to have police and marches in your commercial, you have to be very careful on how you approach it.
As someone who is more likely to experience police brutality due to my skin color and ethnicity, the infamous scene of Jenner taking off her wig and casually joining the protesters, handing a cop a can of Pepsi, only to have the police take a sip and smile; as if it doesn’t resemble a picture from of the past protests. The picture shown below was from the protest that took place at Baton Rouge, La. last year. It’s almost as if someone on their marketing team just googled protest and went from there.
You have people of color every day losing their lives to police who feel the need to overreach their authority and decide using excessive force on non-threatening people is a smart idea. Now I’m not bashing all police because many do know that shooting an innocent person should never be an option. And to have a commercial use some privileged model as the face of the #PepsiMovement was not a good choice. Not to mention that it just feels like Pepsi is trying to capitalize on the whole #BlackLivesMatter Movement as a whole is just bad taste.
There are dozens of black celebrities Pepsi could have chosen to be the face of their new “movement”. There are even POC who risk their lives to try and bring unity and peace between people that they could have gone with. As well as so many different scenarios they could have gone with. For example, instead of Kendall Jenner, they could have used Taraji P. Henson in a conference room with other black leaders talking to the police and figuring out how to solve the issue of Police Brutality.
Like with anyone that faces intense backlash they retracted their ad.
What had more people upset was their apology post. They apologized for “making light of any serious situation” rather than clearly apologizing for trying to profit off the #BLM movement. Not to mention they apologized to Kendal Jenner for putting her in that position, as if she didn’t already know what was happening especially, given the family she’s a part of. Blacc Chyna or Amber Rose can one of you please sit down with that family and have a serious conversation?