Pepsi has an answer for the millions of Americans fearful that the Trump Administration might take away their basic rights and crucial services.
Hint: It involves a can of Pepsi.
The soda giant’s latest ad centers on a political march full of millennials — the generically trendy, stock-photo-looking sort of millennials that only exist in commercials. Among them, for some reason, is Kendall Jenner.
nevertheless, she untwisted…. a cool refreshing Pepsi
— Steven Perlberg (@perlberg) April 4, 2017
What exactly are these young people protesting? It’s unclear.
Judging from the signs scattered among the crowd, they want world peace, and they’d like people to “join the conversation” — a message that only jargon-happy marketers would ever imagine anyone actually imparting with a straight face.
There’s also a guy madly playing the cello on a building rooftop and a hijab-wearing photographer thrown in for good measure. The whole ordeal is set to the reggae song “Lions,” by Bob Marley’s grandson, Skip Marley.
The unbearably contrived climax comes when Jenner breaks ranks to offer one of the line of riot cops a can of Pepsi. The gesture is met with cheers, and the photographer happens to be perfectly placed to snap a shot.
Maybe, all it takes to heal America’s gaping political chasms is a sugary artificial beverage, the ad seems to suggest.
As some noted on Twitter, that scene might have been a play on an iconic photo of a woman facing down police at a #BlackLivesMatter protest, making it doubly exploitative.
Others mocked the shameless pandering and exploitation of the whole affair.
I’ve been studying commercials for 30 years. Kendall’s Pepsi ad is legitimately the worst one I’ve ever seen.
— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) April 4, 2017
I wish Eric Garner knew all he needed was a Pepsi. Smh
— X (@XLNB) April 5, 2017
Betcha didn’t know that at the heart of every social justice movement was a spunky white girl with a heart of gold and an ice-cold Pepsi.
— Tax-free Hands. (@thewayoftheid) April 4, 2017
So all us dark people have to do is convince a cop that the Pepsi we’re holding isn’t a gun.
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) April 4, 2017
I have a feeling that white people made the Pepsi ad.
— Summer Brennan (@summerbrennan) April 5, 2017
Advertisers have taken this faux-political stand route more often lately as record numbers of citizens take to the streets. Saturday Night Live even mocked the practice in a recent sketch.
But Pepsi’s new ad takes the cake for the most tone-deaf display of vacant “woke”-ness.
The company isn’t backing down … yet (“It’s an import [sic] message to convey”).
We’ll see how long that lasts.