Josie’s Journal: Recent Pepsi advertisement sparks controversy

Josie Krueger
Entertainment Columnist

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Pepsi’s most recent attempt at advertising through empowerment and recent issues has clearly failed, causing an eruption of discontent and criticism over social media.

Starring in the commercial is supermodel and reality television star, Kendall Jenner.

In the Pepsi commercial, a protest regarding social injustice issues is going on in the streets, and Jenner leaves her photo shoot in order to join the protesters. The part causing the most controversy is when she gives a police officer a Pepsi, and he promptly opens it and takes a drink. This exchange causes an eruption of cheering, dancing and overall joy on both sides.

The ad was released on April 4, and Pepsi took the commercial down a day later on April 6, because of the immediate and heavy backlash from celebrities and other internet users. The commercial being taken down did not stop comedy shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” or angered Twitter users from mocking and criticizing the advertisement and its meaning.

Junior Lidia Goben and freshman Donte Malone, expressed their opinions on this commercial.

Goben said, “They gave Pepsi to the police, and it was all okay. That didn’t work back in the day.”

Malone added, “That doesn’t work now. It’s cause she’s sexy; that’s all, and rich.”

Goben continued: “Pepsi can’t fix racism or sexism. Even though they had people of color playing in that commercial-”

Malone finished: “They didn’t have a big role. Like [Lidia] said, Pepsi can’t solve racial disputes or sexual disputes.”

Sophomore Molly Nash had a similar opinion: “[The video] completely simplified the problem at hand and degraded it. If it was that easy to fix, then we wouldn’t still be dealing with this. I don’t think it was a good decision for her to do, and with as much influence as she has, many people around the globe will see the struggles of Americans as something that can be sold to them, and I don’t think that is right.”

Pepsi released a statement apologizing for the context it was taken in: “Pepsi was trying to protect a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize.”

The brand also apologized for any fault it has put Jenner in, stating that it was not their intention. Jenner has not made public appearance during this time, waiting for everything to die down. 

Overall, Pepsi seems to understand the discontent with the commercial and has learned not to make its product seem like it can solve the world’s problems.

Sophomore Tobey Nelson expressed his closing thoughts on the whole ordeal: “I think the biggest take away is to educate and have an open discussion about what is wrong, what could be fixed, and for everyone to acknowledge the fact that the ad was in no way ill-mannered[in its intention], but that the [Black Lives Matter] movement does have a right to be upset over the commercial.”

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