Pepsi has bowed to pressure from the public following a massive backlash over a controversialadvertt featuring Kendall Jenner.
As soon as the ad was released, it was widely mocked and criticised for appearing to trivialise serious protests for social justice causes. Commentators on social media accused Pepsi of appropriating imagery from consequential real life protests to sell its product. Again, the ad ignored the danger protesters encounter and the frustration they feel at times like that.
As a result, the company had to pull the advert from YouTube. Also, an apology was given to all those who felt offended by the ad.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,” the company said in an official statement on Wednesday.
“We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”
The company also apologised for putting Kendall Jenner in the middle of the uproar.
In the video which Pepsi had planned to use in a global ad campaign, reality TV star and model Kendall Jenner comes across a scene of protesters. Subsequently, Jenner joins the crowd, which approaches a line of police officers.
The part of the video that got everyone talking was the part that turned what would have been a tense standoff in the real world into cheers and smiles. This refers to the part when Jenner, a white woman who is a part of the Kardashian Clan picks up a can of Pepsi cola and offers it to an officer who accepts and drinks it with a smile.
Watch the ad featuring Kendall Jenner here;
Activists described the scene as a precise opposite of the real-world experience of protesting police brutality. One can actually get a bullet in the head for approaching the police at times like that.
Moreover, the image of Jenner approaching the police clearly referenced the iconic photograph of 18-year-old black woman Ieshia Evans who stood her ground in the face of heavily armoured riot police during a Black Lives Matter protest following the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling by police in 2016.