by Justice Etafo – Staff Reporter
A major uproar was sparked when Pepsi a major soda company decided to air a commercial that is claimed to have inaccurately portrayed the relationship between protestors and the police. This particular advertisement featured reality star/model, Kendal Jenner and began with Kendal nodding and sharing fist bumps with her fellow protestors. Kendall then grabs a Pepsi from a well-stocked cooler and proceeded to hand the refreshing drink to a cop this simple gesture seemingly ends all the conflict.
Social media commentators were critical of Pepsi’s commercial and accused them of stigmatizing real world issues in order to sell its product whilst also undermining the seriousness and danger of an actual protest. In the YouTube description for the commercial, titled “Live for Now Moments Anthem,” Pepsi calls it “a short film about the moments when we decide to let go, choose to act, follow our passion and nothing holds us back.” Pepsi was certainly deserving of the hate they have received following the commercial, their greed and portrayal of such an essential process was far from the best choice. Therefore, I hope they learned never to make that mistake again, leaving such controversial issues to those within the protests.
Pepsi has long since apologized for the production and release of the video formally saying, “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize.” They also said, “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”
Since Pepsi pulled down the commercial their hate has died down, but this has not stopped some humorous protestors who have turned the entire situation into a joke by insisting that a Pepsi can end any conflict. Although ineffective, it is still very entertaining to watch people try to hand their opposing protestors or some police a cold can of Pepsi, hoping to end the conflict but overall failing to do so.
This controversial commercial has even been brought to the attention of Elle Hearn’s, the executive director of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and formerly an organizer for Black Lives Matter, who said the ad “plays down the sacrifices people have historically taken in utilizing protests.”
Kendall Jenner stayed out of the public eye for a while following the controversial commercial, and Pepsi has already taken down the commercial. This is in Kendall Jenner and Pepsi’s best interest, as they should know that they made a huge mistake trying to cash in on the outputs for essential ideas. Also although unintentionally doing so, demeaning the purpose and impacts of an actual protest.