Pepsi Pulls New Ad After Outcry

Time: 1:39 p.m.CEST

It was nothing wrong when Pepsi agreed with the marketing creative people with the new advertisement for the popular soda, introducing TV star Kendall Jenner who makes instant decision to leave the shooting set, join to the jubilant protesting people and concludes the cat walk by offering soda to the riot police officer, while crowds cheers the moment. In a world where some of the protest is possibly product of some creative departments, this ad could not ignite much controversy, but in the United States where the roots of the civil movement set the standards for confronting mainstream, the ‘short film’ sparked an outcry, accusations and resulted with pulling out the commercial.

The accusations and comments on the internet said the company trivialized recent street protests in the United States where people are protesting use of police force against African-American population, especially after unpleasant happenings in Ferguson. Pepsi posted the commercial on YouTube on Tuesday, but the ad was no longer there a day after it was uploaded. In a statement, the company posted on the website, Pepsi said they “did not intend to make light of serious issues.” “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said in a statement. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

The ad introduces Kendal Jenner escaping from the filming set to join the protest for unknown cause. It seems her decision makes a breakthrough to sell the soda, or to offer the soda to the police officer staying in the line before the protesters. However, the genuine idea of the marketers did not pass well, especially when the Washington Post criticized or analyzed frame by frame every second of the commercial. Aside Jenner, the Post mentions the shots of the ad when an unknown young Muslim woman with a hijab plays a role of the photographer of the protests.

The Post writes, “o:15: Say hello to our resident Muslim Woman Wearing Hijab (super topical, right?). She’s working with some arts and crafts and drinking Pepsi, but boy, she is not so pleased.” Later in the ad, we saw the same woman making a photo of Jenner who arrives at protest before offering the drink to a police officer. What Pepsi executives probably thought it is ‘cool,’ the public refused with strong reactions. Even, the Post explains, “Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, chimed in,” with reactions on Twitter.


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