Can someone please ask Kendall Jenner when the life of a victimized minority was equal to a caffeinated beverage, or if offering one to a cop would have saved lost lives due to police brutality? Does a Pepsi have an extraterrestrial effect on human beings that somehow magically makes them “woke” with one sip?
In Pepsi’s new ad to promote their drink, Kendall Jenner is featured in a confusing and misleading role by making viewers question what the purpose of her presence actually serves as she is seen posing against a wall and being photographed in a blonde wig. Moving forward, Kendall notices that a group of protesters are all marching in the same direction but doesn’t seem to consider joining until she gets a seductive head nod from some guy in the group.
It’s the next part where the viewer is supposedly awaken from their slumber realizing that this ad wants us to question why no one ever considered this as a potential solution to reconcile differences between law enforcement and citizens. Jenner takes off her wig, wipes off her lipstick, walks through the crowd, and grabs a can of Pepsi to offer a police officer.
Ha! Who would’ve thought that a 21-year-old Victoria Secrets Angel would have discovered the solution for ending institutionalized and systemic racism with a can of Pepsi? Why didn’t anyone let Lesha Evans in on the secret? Should we start questioning if Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and so many more victims who were senselessly murdered by law enforcement, had a can of Pepsi to offer, things would have turned out differently for them?
While the thought is trivial and harsh, this is where Pepsi forgot to do their research. We cannot forget about those who have already lost their lives in order to promote a simple drink.
Let us understand the numerous flaws that are featured in this ad. Pepsi, your heart was in the right place, but your attempt to deliver a message of unity was a complete fail and here’s why:
The closest Kendall Jenner has ever been to fighting off oppression was through her rogue choice of outfits to wear with the absence of undergarments in order to promote the #FreeTheNippleCampaign.
While Jenner may have a platform, and Pepsi has a brand that can reach millions, to assume that a White woman who is a model is capable of sending a message of such caliber is reckless, to say the least. You don’t chose a spokesperson for your ad to specifically call to attention social justice issues that have plagued America is that person is privileged and White from money. She, or her demographic, simply cannot connect with the audience you, Pepsi, are trying to reach – unless that audience is for the rich White American.
Arguably, there are two hypocrisies with this ad. First, let’s just say it — if a Black man was placed in Jenner’s role (in real life) there would have not been an epiphany of peace. There would have been a Black man handcuffed and taken to jail, at minimum.
Second, America was built on the backbones of minorities. Having White people assigned to play a role that doesn’t display the lives they have lived, whether it be the role of the oppressed or the role of the actual peace-maker, belittles real life and the people who have lived under oppression and racism. A person of color would not make peace with the abuser in such a manner — especially to one that has systematically profiled them for being Black or Brown or Muslim. This ad is a prime example of what happens when a minority’s voice is absent in the decision making and directing process. It proves to be counter-productive and invalid.
Pepsi, you failed. All your commercial accomplished was confirming my loyalty to Coca Cola.
Note: Pepsi has since pulled this ad from their campaign amid the controversy.