OK! I had been hearing about this commercial all day so I had to take a gander myself at all the hoopla. I must say that I am quite perplexed at the direction of this commercial. Here is my unsolicited 2 cents…
Pepsi, I love you BUT I am going to boycott you for a little bit. I will drink Pepsi over Coke any day, but this recent ad with Kendall Jenner was created in distaste. I understand that the message that YOU might’ve wanted to convey was not understood, BUT you should’ve thought of whom this ad would’ve impacted. No one wants to hear, “oh you are being too sensitive”, or “you do not understand the point”, or anything within the realm of its US instead of YOU. There are SERIOUS things happening in the streets all across the country (in the world) as I know you are aware with the press coverage. Recently (and throughout time), protests have been used in order to bring awareness to abuse and brutality against people of color. It has been used for Women’s rights, Gay Rights, equal pay, etc. You are using that exact tactic to sell soda (or pop, whichever you call it). You know very well, a cop is not going to stand-down for a can of pop. An African American woman who was non-threatening, wearing a dress and her hands in clear sight during a BLM protest was handcuffed and put in jail (image below). You portray an image of Kendall Jenner (who is not a person of color) walking up to a cop and he does not flinch. He just stands there waiting for her to walk up with an unopened can. Really? What image do you think that portrays to the public? If that was a person of color walking up with that can, it would’ve been seen as a weapon. Then, that traditional crap line would’ve followed, “I felt my life was in danger”.
Personally, I would have preferred to have seen some of the protesters in the front lines wearing Pepsi t-shirts and carrying a banner with the Pepsi logo and some verbiage to the point of the protest. Every person behind them is wearing some of the colors of Pepsi, hats, scarves, make-up, or whatever to show unity through the brand giving hi-fives, dabs, and passing out “flyers”. When Jenner’s role joins the protest, show some of those scenes of her interacting with the other protesters. Then, the “march” stops in front of a wall of officers as if they (Pepsi) are taking a stand with the people. The last scene would have been Kendall cracking open a can of Pepsi and taking a drink. That would have been more powerful. That would have been understood. There were people dancing like this was a party. Was this a parade or a protest?
Did anyone consider that this could be disrespectful to any of the consumers or was the thought in the room just about the bottom line? I truly believe that this was created with no malice, but you should’ve asked somebody. I’m sure you wanted it to be upbeat, but since when is a protest upbeat? I mean, really. There could have been preventive measures in place to diminish the backlash (especially) when things are so tense. It would’ve been evident that there was full consideration in every aspect of the advertisement.
To you Ms. Kendall Jenner, Kendall, sweetheart… Next time (if you didn’t this time), question the direction of the commercial, ad, or whatever. If you questioned and felt it was OK, then fine. You were the face of that Pepsi ad and you are shouldering some of that backlash because of it. This ad placed you in a position that you do not care about the issues that plague communities around the country. People are being beat just for doing less than what your role did in that commercial. No one fully understands a person’s plight until you stand in their shoes. Sweetheart, it may have been innocent, but if you look at the history of how things go, it could have been seen as a mock. In essence, we all want to do and be a part of great things, but do we do them knowing it will offend someone especially a race of people that are already being treated as inferior? As a person of color, the things I experience in the office (today and in years past) would make your head spin. I’ve had brothers brutalized by officers with no recourse. (I have photos to prove it.) If we do not unite as a people (no matter the color, gender, etc.) then we are doomed to continue to run within the hamster wheel. We will never push forward if everyone does not play their part and take a stand. Look at what happened to Colin Kaepernick. He is being blackballed at every corner and yet he still pushing forward and helping others. What can the powers that be do if everyone with a little bit of money and power actually stood up to the injustices that surround them daily? Honestly, honey, you don’t need the money (*smile*). We, unintentionally, devalue people through our actions. So, it may be great to be a part of this huge Pepsi opportunity, but at what cost do we turn down opportunities in order to get to a better place in life? Certain circumstances are out of your control, but what do you do when you have the information in front of you beforehand? In this day, we are now looking at decisions that are considered life or death, literally.
Live in love! Make smart Choices! Ask the simple and hard questions!