Pepsi knows how to quench thirst and overcome social injustice.
Pepsi’s recent advertisement, featuring reality star Kendall Jenner, got taken down from social media within 24-hours after the premiere. The campaign debuted Tuesday the 4th of April and depicted how the 21 year old model overcome social injustice.
The ‘Live for Now Moments’ campaign is constructed around an ambiguous protest. A crowed of protesters, from different cultures, race and origins take to the street. There is a unified presents among them as they peacefully protest for love and peace. Banners and posters encourage outsiders to join the protesters as they proceed to their unknown destination. Musicians and dancers attribute to the uplifting atmosphere as everyone is seen happy and smiling. The colour scheme employed in the advertisement mimics the iconic Pepsi emblem. Clear blue skies, Pepsi cans and cut off denim all add to the calm and collected ambience. The 3 minute advertisement portrays a protest that is in favour of diversity and no-violence policy.
According to Pepsi, their goal was to “project a global message of unity, peace and understanding.” Twitter users accused the campaign of being insensitive and unprofessional. The majority of users agreed that the company was disrespecting civil rights movements- that in particular of #BlackLivesMatter. The company responded by stating that they have “clearly missed the mark” and apologized.
“We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”
Criticism revolved around the mimicking of the #BlackLivesMatter protest. The advertisement, posted on YouTube, draws parallels between Kendall Jenner’s confrontation with the police and that of teenager Leshia Evans who confronted riot police during the #BlackLivesMatter protests last year. It evidently employs the strategy of utilizing documentation of the former protest in order to sell the Pepsi campaign as credible and relevant.
After the back lash of angry citizens and Twitter users Pepsi apologized “for placing Kendall Jenner as the centre of the incident.” Kendall Jenner’s tweets that formerly promoted the ‘Live For Now Moments’ campaign was taken down from her Twitter account as well.
Although Pepsi responded positively to the demands of social media users and activists, the damage was done. Many deemed the advert for ridiculing the liberation movement and its history.