Pepsi just pulled that completely bizarre and totally tone-deaf ad featuring Kendall Jenner. It’s not on their YouTube channel any longer, and here’s what they have to say about the whole thing:
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
OK. Sure. We aren’t convinced. And why isn’t Jenner making her own statement?
The ad execs at Pepsi who signed off on the storyline for Kendall Jenner’s ad are probably kicking themselves right about now. The ad debuted to serious controversy yesterday, as people pointed out that the “plot” was problematic, to say the least. Jenner starred as a model who leaves a shoot and wipes off her lipstick to join a protest (because everyone knows you can’t wear lipstick to a protest).
Then she hands a can of Pepsi to a cop, who then smiles, and everyone is happy. Except everyone is decidedly not happy—for starters, the image of Jenner handing the Pepsi to the officer is startling similar to the same image of Ieisha Evans being arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest, only no credit is given and the whole thing is co-opted completely.
So, Pepsi released a statement today about the commercial. Problem is, it says nothing. “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,” they said.
Uh, OK. It’s pretty tone-deaf to react to a tone-deaf commercial with a bland statement that says absolutely nothing—why respond at all? We get that they’re trying to deflect the negative attention, but we also imagine that they expected this. What’s that they say about how there’s no such thing as bad press?