Pepsi, enlists Kendall Jenner in what can only be described as the central casting music video for the social justice ethos, the resistance movement, and most likely, something-something anti-Trump. Except of course, Pepsi is Pepsi so its hedging its middle-of-the-road bets by hosting a march for peace. There's also a pissed off photographer in a hijab. And Kendall Jenner? Well she's wearing a blonde wig and then rips it off and hands a Pepsi to a cop, I guess kind of like that famous photo at Kent State where the hippie placed a flower in the rifle of a national guard member. Or nods to Black Lives Matter. In other words it's not tone deaf at all.
There's a lot of negative press around this ad. It's easy to see why. Kendall Jenner is not a great example of any sort of resistance movement. And mixing protests with Pepsi is just plain misguided. Pepsi of course has always stood for youth, and since the youth believe they're all 'woke," now it only makes sense they'd try to make something revolving around that, as opposed to say, using Britney Spears.
But the negative press is as much a part of outrage culture as it is the inevitableness of advertising responding to the demands of consumers who insist their brands be more politically attuned. Or rather, not consumers, but people on twitter who spend their days being outraged.
It was only a few short years ago where Tweets demanding brands be more involved with causes and political moments du jour, no matter how polarizing they would be started popping up. So in order to sell you something, brands waded into the zeitgeist. Starbucks talked about race. And immigration. In the case of 84 Lumber's Super Bowl spot, the CEO didn't even believe in the cause but just wanted to "create conversation," which is code for capitalizing on a trend.
This is Pepsi 2017 where kids march for peace and a cop sips a Pepsi (the new symbol of harmony, apparently) and Kendall Jenner smears her makeup. You wanted woke, you got it. And it's your fault for demanding brands do this.
Update: Pepsi has decided to pull this craptacular ad. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal's reporter Jennifer Maloney.
Pepsi's statement. pic.twitter.com/ge8uMcamGa
— Jennifer Maloney (@maloneyfiles) April 5, 2017
Agency: Creators League Studio
Song: “Lions” by Skip Marley
Brand Director: Allison Sipes
Advertising Agency: Creators League / Pepsico
Chief Marketing Officer: Kristin Patrick
Creative Direction: Pete Kasko Director: Michael Bernard
Executive Producer: Ally Polly Production: Picture Farm
Producer: Ben Freedman & Stefania Consarino at Picture Farm
Director of Photography: Bjorn Charpentier
Editors: Moondog Films