Soda Ad’s Co-Oping Protest

Pepsi Commercial

In this week’s article  I will be discussing the latest Pepsi commercial. This ad, which aired  Tuesday April 4th, 2017 and  featuring Kendall Jenner, has everyone on social media going crazy. In this ad for Pepsi, Jenner sets out in a protest and offers a police officer a Pepsi. The ad later became a target for backlash. Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding, but since people started making a fuss Pepsi has taken the ad out of YouTube and off the air.

Now, you’re probably still wondering why everyone is so upset. People are upset is because all those Women’s Marches, #BlackLivesMatter protests, and demonstrations outside Trump Tower, and all the black men, women, boys and girls being killed by cops ‘would be much more effervescent or avoided if someone had just brought some soda.’ According to “The commercial appears to draw inspiration from the countless marches and protests that have taken place over the past several years.” This is not the message Pepsi was trying to give, but of course everyone on social media took it out of context with memes. Not only did the internet disagree with Pepsi commercial, but within 48 hours the YouTube video got 1.6 million views. The video had 5 time more thumbs down than thumbs up.

A Twitter search “Pepsi” shows that nobody is on the commercials side, and  not even Pepsi is defending themselves anymore. Pepsi said “we did not mean to make light of any serious issue.” Something else people are upset about is the fact the office accepted a soda from Kendall Jenner, a white woman. According to NYtimes, “The image of Ms. Jenner approaching a line of police officers was compared to a widely shared photo of Ieshia Evans, a black woman who stood firm while being charged by riot police during a protest against police brutality.” in response to the picture someone twitted on Twitter saying, “The best example of white and economic privilege/ ignorance I’ve ever seen. Never forget Ieshia Evans.” – Maya (@mayaielysee).

Martin Luther King’s daughter commented to this commercial on Twitter saying, “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.” – Be A King (@BerniceKing).

I interviewed three people see what they had to say about this commercial. I asked five questions to four different people. Peter Schmidt an 11th grader, Anna Slembarski a 10th grader, and Mrs. Longshore our Harris County High School drama teacher and director.   

What is your take or opinion on the commercial how did it make you feel?

Peter: It is trying to incorporate someone who represents money, and luxury, to a racial equality gathering.

Anna: I think the commercial was just trying to tap into popular culture, and not topic issues. I think the way it was produced and represented was insensitive to issues that people are very emotionally attached to, and have varying opinions on.  

Did you think there was anything controversial aboutit?

Peter: Yes, some people don’t like Kendall playing the role she played because, it was a white woman in a racial protest. Considering all the protest going on, Pepsi as “talking” about or referring to had to do with african americans.

Anna: Yes, I believe it was. This movement is very painfulfor some people, and the over simplification, and use of famous models for the sole purpose of selling a soda, could be seen as offensive.

Do you think Pepsi made it intentionally controversial? Why or why not?

Peter: Neither, because it is an advertisement the intention is money.  

Anna: No, I don’t think it was their intention to be offensive. I believe they were just trying to get the video to go viral.

Did you know the MLK’s daughter said If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.” How do you feel about her comment?

Peter:: She was obviously offended, and was in the right.

Anna: I think she was angry for a good reason. She of all people is emotionally connected to this movement, and was offended because riots and people are not that simple.

Longshore: I think the way a lot of people, with a lot of situations reason with sarcasm that is a way to cope. I think things could be handled more efficiently than tweets.

Some people have said that the scene when kendall walked up to the police with the Pepsi is similar to the photo of Ieshia Evans a black woman who stood firm while being charged by riot police during a protest against police brutality. The media took this to the heart in saying it was very disrespectful what is your take?

Peter: I think that Pepsi was trying to incorporate the two similar lines, but it went sour in the populations eye.  

Anna: I think the two should not be compared because Ies
hia was at a real riot, risking her life for a movement she believes in. Kendall was only an actress, advertising Pepsi.

Longshore: No I did not think anything of the picture of Ieshia Evans. That was not my first thought.

Longshores’ answer to first three questions

I think Pepsi had good intentions, but good intentions don’t always mean anything. I think that they were striving for the very the successful “I’d like to buy the world a coke” ad, but their interpretation was received  as disrespectful to recent events. People are very passionate to certain issues.

Cheyanne Perkins                                                                                          April 20, 2017



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