The poor taste Pepsi protest advert (yes, the one with Kendall Jenner)

Pepsi’s latest advert has been pulled. 

If you missed it, you can watch it here…

Where do we start on this one?

No, Kendall can’t solve the world’s problems or deliver world peace with a can of Pepsi.
No, Pepsi aren’t connecting to any current movement.
No, Pepsi aren’t speaking to millennials or any generation.
No, happy, laughing, high-fiving models aren’t the only people that go on protest marches.
No, no-one in a protest march would hold a sign saying “join the conversation”.
And, no, there’s absolutely nothing in this advert that can save it.

This advert downplays and glamourises issues happening across the world. There are so many parallels that can be draw with the images coming from tensions in the United States and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Significant similarities can be seen in the Ieshia Evans image, where she stands silently before a line of riot Police.

Image from:

How can all the parties involved got this so wrong? Can that many people that work in PR, marketing, advertising really not have realised this concept was wildly inappropriate? No one in their right mind could have thought that this was ok.

Before the advert got pulled Pepsi initially defended the advert saying their message was about bringing people together. But, this is not bringing anything or anyone together. It’s just such a blatant insensitive move to capitalise on a movement to try and reach an audience they want to sell Pepsi to.

This great little video below from Business Insider sums it up perfectly. It shows relevant tweets, Pepsi’s crisis statement and that this wasn’t Pepsi’s first advertising mistake of this nature.

Everyone I’ve spoken to has immediately cringed when talking about this advert, and the majority of those don’t even work in PR!

This can only lead me to think one thing. This is a real below the belt PR stunt to get people talking about Pepsi globally.

If Pepsi wanted to reach the millennial market, and connect with the issues that matter to them, then why didn’t they do a proper PR campaign and back it up by helping millennials?

Actions speak louder than words. In this age, you can’t just hint that you stand for something, it’s got to be backed up with action. L’Oreal has done this beautifully by making a real commitment to transforming self-doubt into self-worth. Check out the post I wrote previously about L’Oreal’s PR campaign.

Be authentic Pepsi. If you want to connect with your audience, support the people in the communities you want to reach. The money that was spent on Kendall Jenner and the whole advert could have been put to much better use!

This is my opinion, but I would love to hear yours! Share your thoughts with me in the comments section.

6 thoughts on “The poor taste Pepsi protest advert (yes, the one with Kendall Jenner)

  1. This ad was such a controversial topic in the last week or so. There was loads of outrage, and things I didn’t even notice until I was reading some more the tweets. I don’t get how so many people from their company could mess up so badly. This post was very well said!

    Melina |

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