Following mass criticism, the giant drink’s brand, Pepsi have pulled its controversial advert featuring Kendall Jenner at a protest.
The ad was widely condemned for appearing to trivialise demonstrations and protests that seem to aim at tackling social justice cases such as recent ones seen for Black Lives Matter, anti-Trump rallies and ones against the bombing in Syria.
The video has now been removed from Pepsi’s official YouTube, however, unofficial YouTube account Kendall and Kylie still has the video up on YouTube, and thanks to it’s controversy has amassed over 3m views.
The video shows Jenner (a member of celebrity family the Kardashian’s) spotting a mass demonstration and opting to step away from a modeling shoot, defiantly ripping off a blonde wig and wiping her makeup away. She effortlessly marches past a crowd of young, attractive and conveniently diverse protesters to hand a can of Pepsi to a police officer, who smirks and takes a sip which is met by raucous cheers from the protesters.
The description below the video on Pepsi’s official YouTube channel read ‘A short film about the moments when we decide to let go, choose to act, follow our passion and nothing holds us back.’
The drink brand’s ad was an attempt to reach millennials, however, ironically it was a social media backlash that forced Pepsi to ditch the campaign.
The Kendall Jenner Pepsi fiasco is a perfect example of what happens when there's no black people in the room when decisions are being made.
— Travon Free (@Travon) April 4, 2017
can't believe Kendall Jenner just solved institutionalized racism and oppression by giving a cop a pepsi. Groundbreaking
— kels (@Kelsiekinss) April 4, 2017
— Taryn Finley (@_TARYNitUP) April 4, 2017
"Kendall please! Give him a Pepsi!" pic.twitter.com/IntFNmCpTr
— Zito (@_Zeets) April 4, 2017
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 5, 2017
In a press release by Pepsi, the company said “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. 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.”
— Pepsi™ (@pepsi) April 5, 2017
Professor of marketing at Pace University, Larry Chiagouris said the severe criticism was due to Pepsi being ‘late to the party’ with an ad attempting to be about unity, and thus making it seem exploitive and condescending.
Last night the host of the Late Show Stephen Colbert ripped into Pepsi and Jenner in one of his opening statements. His YouTube video of his comments on the ad is titled Stephen Takes On Kendall Jenner’s ‘Attractive Lives Matter’ Pepsi Ad.
Colbert starts off by saying, “We have a divided nation, that is clear – we have a deeply divided nation.” He then adds, “But today it seems like everyone has come together to join the protest against the new protest ad from Pepsi.”
Barely able to control his own laughter at the embarrassing and offensive ad, Colbert describes the video, “It starts with a throng of beautiful, multi-ethnic people protesting in the streets of, I’m gonna guess Newport, Rhode Island.”
“So far, we don’t know what has caused all of America’s hot extras to take to the streets. But I’m guessing it’s a protest for ‘Attractive Lives Matter.'”
“The signs they’re holding aren’t much help in figuring things out. The signs say things like ‘peace’ and the peace symbol and ‘join the conversation’.”
He then mockingly adds, “At first this was a movement without a leader! Until the protest route just happened to pass by Kendall Jenner doing a fashion shoot!” He continues with, “Then she makes eye contact with a cute boy who brought his cello to a protest…this prompts her to rip off her blonde wig, give it to her assistant and ‘join the conversation’.”
“Once Kendall Jenner has made the ultimate sacrifice of wiping off her lipstick…it’s super fun until the march meets the world’s most intimidating police force,” Colbert quips. “Luckily, Miss Jenner, a wealthy young white woman knows exactly how to handle police at protests…YES WE CAN (of Pepsi)”
Skip to 5.15 to hear Colbert’s take on the ad.