It took Pepsi just 24 to yank its controversial video with Kendall Jenner. But they should be given credit for one thing: the video was so bad that it united the whole world. Liberals, conservatives, and everyone in between all agreed that the ad sucked.
Pepsi tried to get down with the cool kids by playing the cultural diversity and social protest cards (although they were careful to make the protestors’ signs as non-threatening and vacuous as the ad itself) but their attempt ended up backfiring. In the face of across-the-board condemnation, the company had no choice but to apologise for their faux pas.
‘Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,’ the company said in a statement last Wednesday. ‘Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise.’
At first, Pepsi had attempted to defend the ad by saying it was a ‘global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey.’
Had this worthy little speech come from the mouth of a barefooted yoga teacher, people might have believed it, but from a soft drinks giant it proved a little hard for people to swallow. So, after realising that the backlash was showing no signs of abating – with ever more Netizens picking up their metaphorical torches and pitchforks – the company reversed course: ‘We did not intend to make light of any serious issue,’ Pepsi said. ‘We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.’
Pepsi has deleted the ad, but it can still be found online and it will be almost impossible for the brand to eradicate it from the web altogether.
Although some companies and celebrities have found a way to benefit from the controversies that have beset them (remember how Kate Moss became more successful than ever after her cocaine scandal?), it doesn’t look like it will happen with Pepsi this time round. Usually when something like this happens, one group of people view the incident negatively, while the rest of the world view it positively or don’t care one way or the other. This time, however, the votes against the ad are unanimous.
Unsurprisingly, those involved in the civil rights movement were among the most vociferous critics of the ad. Even Martin Luther King Jr’s daughter waded into the row on Twitter.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) 5 April 2017
When the cops come and you only got Coca-Cola in the fridge pic.twitter.com/GWWO67bkMm
— Ira Madison III (@ira) 4 April 2017