Home Pop Culture How Pepsi’s protest ad starring Kendall Jenner failed the internet

How Pepsi’s protest ad starring Kendall Jenner failed the internet

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Pepsi protest ad
Pepsi protest ad
Pepsi protest ad starring Kendall Jenner. Image via Pepsi.

Pepsi protest ad starring Kendall Jenner: How a multinational company tried hijacking a civil rights movement as a high gloss consumer staple only to end up with egg on its face.  

Perhaps the makers behind the new Pepsi protest ad meant well but tell that to the internet which has since blasted the new Pepsi ad starring high bred uber manufactured reality ingenue, Kendall Jenner as the force to save and ingratiate us with the ravages of inequity. By simply giving a policeman a can of Pepsi and waiting for him to wink and smile and the weight of the world finally gone….

Perhaps it was inevitable that a consumer staple and multinational company (so often the target of the ire of disenfranchised members of society) should want to claim a cause of resistance (normally directed at their corporate and state peers) as one dear to their hearts.

And that might be in part the reason why the latest Pepsi protest ad fails so miserably. The second part of why the ad fails is the use of multi millionaire celebrity and reality star, Kendall Jenner who represents anything but the struggle of resistance and disadvantage often at the hearts and minds of freedom and rights protesters and ordinary members of society forced day in day out to reckon with the inequities of state and corporations tacitly or actively colluding to keep the misery fostering (think worker’s rights, racism, consumer rights, gender rights, and basic human rights).

But then again this is made for tv fantasy, except this time the internet isn’t buying it.

The Pepsi ad appears to be using the latest slew of Black Lives Matter protests which have (rightly so) singled out the state’s unrelenting use of violence against colored and minority individuals consistently being marginalized by society and shot at by police. Not a new theme in American dialectics, just an ongoing one which Pepsi has decided to address hijack and reference itself as a possible savior and at the very least the go to choice when the world becomes too unbearable, violent and disunited.

The ad begins with our heroine (or rather, Pepsi’s heroine-Kendall) taking part in a photo shoot (art imitating life imitating art) whilst in the foreground outside a volley of demonstrators are squaring up against police.

Suddenly our Kardashian folk lore hero (how did we arrive at this moment when a sex release video subject became a worshipped demigod along with her offshoot family members??) calls time out on her photo shoot to follow that of protesters outside.

Except she doesn’t really follow demonstrator’s concerns but rather simply finds a barrel stuffed with cold drinks, from which the manufactured 21 year old ‘supermodel’ plucks one out, crosses police lines (never mind in reality she’d be shot, tear gassed or arrested…) and hands a smitten police officer a frosty much desired can of Pepsi to soothe his agitation along with that of ours.

From there the camera screens to hyperbole, a cheering and hugging skipping crowd and the concerns and subjects of demonstrators buried behind the veneer of a tasty carbonated can of fizzy water saturated with sugar. Yes salvation has finally arrived. Drink up and be damned. Sit back and wait for the internet to be repulsed and collect next year’s bonus.

Pepsi protest ad
Pepsi protest ad starring Kendall Jenner
Pepsi protest ad
Pepsi protest ad starring Kendall Jenner

And then there was this selection of the internet’s reaction below, which also made me wonder ….