In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, I’ll give you a short recap of Pepsi’s latest advertisement. The star of this “short film” was none other than reality star/model Kendall Jenner. People are walking down the street, marching and carrying picket signs, just outside the door where Kendall is posing for some modeling shots. A man nods to her as if to say “come on” and she quickly takes off her wig, smears off her makeup, and joins the protest outside. On her way into the crowd, she picks up a shiny can of Pepsi and immediately proceeds to hand it to a police officer (in a way that was very reminiscent of the picture of Iesha L. Evans, pictured below, at a Baton Rouge protest last year) standing in front of the crowd. The cop shrugs to his colleague next to him, and the crowd goes wild. Every single problem anyone has ever had was suddenly solved via the cool, refreshing taste of Pepsi. In case you don’t quite understand why everyone was so up in arms over this advertisement, SNL did us all a favor and parodied the commercial.
Pepsi was undeniably in the wrong for giving off the vibe that they were oversimplifying many problems that cut our society to the core. This video united the internet (a feat every corporation aims to achieve), but unfortunately not in Pepsi’s favor. Pepsi pulled the ad and released a statement on their Twitter page, in which they admitted that they “clearly… missed the mark.” Pepsi did, in fact, miss the mark… by a few hundred miles.
With that being said, I feel the need to state something that everyone knows, but something that everyone seems to forget: stupidity is not a crime. Was Pepsi stupid in releasing this advertisement in which they seemingly oversimplified the reasons why people march in the first place? Yes. Does Pepsi need a new marketing/advertising department? For sure. But did Pepsi start filming this commercial with the intention of being evil and giving real-world problems the cold shoulder? Absolutely not. Watch the commercial for yourself. This is advertising, after all. What commercial have you watched that isn’t at least slightly extreme in favor of a certain product?
I like to think of Pepsi’s marketing/advertising department as a bunch of really excited little kids assigned to a huge task. They were given Kendall Jenner, a group of very diverse people, actors portraying cops, picket signs, and a bunch of Pepsi to carry out their “dream commercial.” What could possibly go wrong? Well, we saw what went wrong. The child-run marketing department went a little crazy. They were overzealous, probably star-struck, and very committed to their task. Naïve and innocent, these little kids tried the best they could with the large variety of things they were given to work with. However, I will say it again: stupidity is not a crime.
As a nation, we have a lot more to worry about than stupid people making stupid commercials for overrated products. Instead of focusing our energy on all that kind of stupidity (because stupidity comes in many forms), we should direct that energy to the problems in our world today that make people protest/march in the first place (I got you, Pepsi). Turn your eyes to what’s happening in our world that could drastically alter the future, because I can assure you that this unintelligent commercial will have very little to no true influence on anything, anywhere. In case you need something else to worry about, something that actually matters, I encourage you to check out your local news tonight for more than about 30 seconds.