Pepsi has withdrawn and apologised for a new ad campaign featuring Kendall Jenner, after the company faced a social media backlash for co-opting protest movements to market their products.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said in a statement to the Associated Press. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise.”
The video featured American model Kendall Jenner coming across a scene of protest. Jenner joins the diverse crowd and approached the battalion of police officers. She finally offered a can of Pepsi to an officer and the crowd cheered while he was drinking the soda.
The 2-minute-39-second ad, titled “Live for Now Moments Anthem”, conveyed that all those protests- Occupy protests, Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump, would be more effective and cheerful if somebody gifted a Pepsi can to the officers.
In a country infamous for the police brutality, the protest is not done with soft drinks and supermodels. Protesters are welcomed with water cannons and pepper sprays.
A scene in the video clearly appropriated the iconic photograph of Ieshia Evans, an 18-year-old black lady who stood bravely in front of the heavily armed riot police during a Black Lives Matter protest.
People took to Twitter to mock the corporate for trivialising and marketing the people’s resistance.
“Kendall please! Give him a Pepsi!” pic.twitter.com/IntFNmCpTr
— Zito (@_Zeets) April 4, 2017
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 5, 2017
“Now just wait one second officers.
I have a Pepsi.” pic.twitter.com/NW0sddKOOI
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 5, 2017
“Yo Kendall, im gonna need you to come through with a pepsi, these cops are wildin” pic.twitter.com/dOpKnTq8LU
— Kim Jong Tun (@ignant_) April 5, 2017
The brand had faced a similar backlash over its ad “Pepsi Thi, Pi Gaya”, which mocked the student protests in India.