(Pepsi has pulled the video amid backlash)
The next time you want to protest social injustice or fight for racial equality, just keep a can of Pepsi on hand because a single sip of the ice-cold soda can pretty much put an end to any conflict – or at least that is what the soft drinks-giant tried to purport with its new commercial.
The company’s latest ad featuring Kendall Jenner has sparked some well-deserved backlash for its tone-deaf imagery and an inconsiderate concept. The reason: the said advertisement is all about saving the world one Pepsi at a time. What’s even more absurd is the fact the corporation thought it would be a good idea to use a model who has never publicly protested for anything in her life to pose as a civil rights heroine.
The recently released video, featured above, shows people of different races and backgrounds staging a demonstration while holding peace signs and placards reading “Join the conversation.” It’s not clear what they’re protesting for, but whatever it is, they all seem really happy to be there.
In fact, it looks more like a block party – there is soda, there is music and people dancing around and kissing – than an actual protest, a tidbit that Pepsi officials would have known had they bothered to go through the footage of any Black Lives Matter or anti-Donald Trump protests that took place in the recent days.
The ad starts with Jenner at a photo shoot, a cellist practicing in his studio and a Muslim photographer in hijab looking through her contact sheets. That is when they all discovered the ongoing protest and decided to join the group, with the cellist carrying his instrument on his back, the photographer snapping photos and Jenner, sans her blonde wig and dark lipstick, fist-bumping other protesters (yes, that happened too).
Then things took a drastic turn.
The protesters stopped before the police line, prompting Jenner to look around a little confused. Then, like a rebel without a cause, the model walked through the crowd, picked up a can of Pepsi and handed it to a particularly good-looking police officer.
As soon as the officer took a sip, the tension in the mysterious evaporated and the protesters began cheering loudly.
It was so cringeworthy, it will literally make your eyes (and brain) hurt.
The only good thing to come out of this absurdity was people of different backgrounds, races, religions, orientations and political affiliation coming together on Twitter to rip the tone-deaf advertisement to shreds.
"Kendall please! Give him a Pepsi!" pic.twitter.com/IntFNmCpTr— Zito (@_Zeets) April 4, 2017
"I'M TELLIN' YOU I GAVE THE OFFICER A PEPSI AND HE TOOK HIS HAND OFF HIS NIGHT STICK!"— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) April 5, 2017
"Whoa slow down lemme get this straight..." pic.twitter.com/pM1uy66vft
"Now just wait one second officers.— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 5, 2017
I have a Pepsi." pic.twitter.com/NW0sddKOOI
Gimme that Pepsi! pic.twitter.com/vc9FhkSRcq— Veldon Coburn (@VeldonCoburn) April 5, 2017
So you mean to tell me this whole time all we had to do was offer a cop a Pepsi and they wouldn't kill unarmed Blacks during routine stops? pic.twitter.com/pvqNEpLTz6— NANA JIBRIL ???????? (@girlswithtoys) April 5, 2017
100% chance my Pepsi gets mistaken for a gun and I'm dead in that situation— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) April 4, 2017
and to think, all rodney king needed to avoid that beating was a pepsi— Ziwe (@ziwe) April 5, 2017
"I've been to the mountaintop, there's a Pepsi machine" pic.twitter.com/40vV6HjeEF— Charles J. Moore (@charles270) April 4, 2017
You should have seen the rejected Pepsi commercial. pic.twitter.com/1NR23KCuwk— Wallace Wylie (@WallaceWylie) April 4, 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
If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would've gotten arrested. Who knew?— deray mckesson (@deray) April 5, 2017
Irony. Pepsi usually has to buy a sponsored ad to trend #1 on Twitter. But not today.— Harvey King of Shade (@bodysculptorokc) April 5, 2017
I'll make sure to tell all my homies to keep a Pepsi on them at all times.— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) April 5, 2017
Pepsi finally topped Michael Jackson catching on fire.— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) April 5, 2017
Meanwhile, despite the backlash, Pepsi is standing by its creation.
“The creative showcases a moment of unity, and a point where multiple storylines converge in the final advert,” the brand told Teen Vogue in a statement. “It depicts various groups of people embracing a spontaneous moment, and showcasing Pepsi’s brand rallying cry to ‘Live For Now,’ in an exploration of what that truly means to live life unbounded, unfiltered and uninhibited.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mario Anzuoni