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Pepsi's Kendall Jenner-Joins-a-Protest Ad Sparks Backlash

By Published on .

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:

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