Pepsi is taking some heat on social media and across the internet for its new ad that shows supermodel/reality TV star Kendall Jenner walking off a modeling shoot to join a nondescript peace march. Some critics are accusing the brand of making light of political protests.
A lot of the backlash is over a scene in which Ms. Jenner is shown handing a policeman a can of Pepsi. This is how Elle magazine put it:
The commercial co-opts protest as something new and trendy (We're woke too! Resistance is lit! Buy Pepsi!), rather than a dangerous necessity. This scene, which invokes a now iconic photo of Black Lives Matter protester Ieshia Evans being arrested in front of police line in Baton Rouge—but instead places a white, rich, supermodel in the focus, feels particularly egregious.
The spot was created by PepsiCo's in-house content creation arm, Creators League Studio. The brand stood by the spot, issuing the following statement on Tuesday evening: "This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that's an important message to convey."
But as of Tuesday afternoon, "Pepsi" was trending on Twitter -- and mostly not in a good way, judging by some of the tweets. Here's a sample of some of the social media reaction:
When you find out all it takes is a Pepsi to stop police brutality... pic.twitter.com/IZHfZNqipj— Blake Moliere (@BlakeMoliere) April 4, 2017
That Pepsi ad is dumb enough to fascinate me. Like, SO MANY PEOPLE have to have thought that was a good idea.— Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee) April 4, 2017
The new @pepsi ad with @KendallJenner is stupefyingly diabolical. Absurd, PC-crazed, virtue-signalling, snowflake claptrap. pic.twitter.com/SA9RRanGNo
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 4, 2017
(To "Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot")— Stuart Elliott (@stuartenyt) April 4, 2017
Pepsi-Cola has a spot
Makes us angry, quite a lot
Puts the brand in a pickle, too
Pepsi-Cola how could you?