Is the World against Pepsi?


Photo via businessinsider

Photo via businessinsider

Pepsi released a new ad yesterday, Tuesday 4th April 2017 titled "Live for Now Moments Anthem", the company has since then come under fire by critics saying the brand has appropriated those massive nationwide protests that followed police shootings of African Americans tagged #BlackLivesMatter

Many expressed their disgust online, highlighting how light the Pepsi Ad made protests look. Others stated that such a big movement which meant a lot for justice and fairness for lives lost was misrepresented. Other criticism leveled against the ad were on the grounds of false representation of the Black Lives Matter marches and an insensitive leaning into the success of a cause and not standing against what the cause fought represented – Police Brutality. It was more or a less a trivialization of a real life outrage just to win free publicity and extra likes.

The Ad featured Kendall Jenner, ad jingle performed by Skip Marley. In the climax of the ad showed Kendall who was in an outdoor photo shoot take off her wig and joined the protest she knew nothing about. From there she became the revolutionary leader of the protest, in a wider shot she hands a police officer a can of Pepsi (and both being white made it even worse) he opens it and sips it and the crowd break out into joy and excitement- all is fair and bright immediately.

*Most probably inspired by Ieshia Evans, the 28 year nurse whose photo shocked the internet at the heat of the #BlackLivesMatter March

Pepsi has said the "Live for Now Moments Anthem" ad was produced by PepsiCo's in-house content creation arm, Creators League Studio. According to Pepsi, the ad “features multiple lives, stories and emotional connections that show passion, joy, unbound and uninhibited moments" designed to "truly reflect today's generation and what living for now looks like"

2017 is the year of no-nonsense and people are done with having anything delivered to them, with the power of new media people speaking up now more than ever. Pepsi chose the most inappropriate time to explore a theme as this. In a time when American’s stance on diversity and inclusion is being questioned, a time of protests and outrage, a time of no-nonsense. Though the ad fought hard to reflect diversity in colour, religion, sexual orientation etc. sadly all came out lost, completely lost in heat of distracting failed protest or should we say carnival.

The angle stating that Pepsi knew this would happen seems also logical. Saying that the content creation arm deliberately explored the very sensitive subject and theme doesn’t seem farfetched, whatever makes generates Buzz yeah? and best of all, who can do that better than a Jenner?

As consumers are pushing to #BoyCottPepsi, we’ll see how much effect this ad would have on sales in the coming weeks.

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Responding to the criticisms, Pepsi via people In a brief message has pointed out misinterpretation of the ad, saying

“This is 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.”