If only something as simple a Pepsi could stop all injustice.
About a week ago, one of the most controversial advertisements of the year was released by Pepsi. The 21-year-old model and reality TV star, Kendall Jenner, was the leader of this advertisement, and I'm sure she nor Pepsi expected to get this much backlash. The commercial begins with a crowd protesting and holding signs that say 'peace' and 'love' while Kendall Jenner poses for a photoshoot just feet away. Seconds into the commercial, Kendall leaves the photoshoot to join the crowd. She pulls a pepsi from an ice box and hands it to an angry police officer, who, after receiving the soda, quickly decides to let the protestors continue.
The intended meaning of this advertisement is quite brilliant; Pepsi wanted to support the global issue of equality and unity. However, that message could have been brought to light in a much different and less controversial manner. "Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position," Pepsi stated last week.
Many who viewed this commercial are up in arms about Kendall Jenner's role. Pepsi apologized for putting Jenner in this position, but it might be harder for her to make amends on her own behalf. Jenner is a multi-millionaire, a supermodel and a reality star who, like most humans, has a mind of her own. It might be harder to defend herself for this role because she signed up for it. She could have refused to do this commercial. She is in no financial predicament where it would be necessary to make money off of this advertisement.
Social justice groups such as Black Lives Matter, feminist groups, and LGBTQ groups are passionate about what they stand for. This advertisement made a joke out of something so serious in the hearts of many and something so serious in the history of America. Many people are infuriated by this advertisement because it looks all too simple. Who knew simply giving a can of soda to a police officer could fix all injustice in the world? Martin Luther King Jr. died fighting for what he believed was right and his daughter Bernice King was angered by this commercial. She sarcastically tweeted about the commercial and said "if only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi." This commercial makes light of such a serious historical issue.
Pepsi's intentions were wholesome. They wanted to represent their company by showing that they believe in equality, unity, and peace among all. After much backlash, they rightfully retracted the commercial. It's safe to say the company won't be making any advertisements as questionable as this one any time soon.