So there is a new Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner. As you can tell from previous posts I am not a huge fan of the Kardashian franchise. A commercial selling its product through using a celebrity’s face, not new. But what is different is staging a protest and trivializing real issues in order to appeal to younger consumers.
A quick summary of the commercial is that Kendall is wearing a blonde wig and doing a photo shoot while there is a march going on in front of her. They’re are artists all around that join the march. Kendall tears off her blonde wig (I don’t know why. What is Pepsi trying to say?), grabs a Pepsi and joins the march. The march then leads to a line of police officers and as the face of this little march, Kendall hands a police officer a can of Pepsi, he drinks it and everyone cheers as if this was an amazing accomplishment. Watch the entire video for yourself.
Here are my issues:
The imagery at the end is so reminiscent of the iconic photo of Ieshia Evans standing in front of police officers during a Black Lives Matter Movement protest. The similarities between the two images are uncanny. It is especially watered down with a young White woman playing Ieshia Evan’s role.
Are we really using a woman who has said and done nothing involving activism to have her be some kind of lead in this protest.
Again, are we really not going to use a Woman of Color for this role?
People march against police brutality during Black Lives Matter marches. We march for every senseless murder committed against people of Color. This is a very real thing. The emotions surrounding this issues have caused riots throughout our country and you have Kendall Jenner had a cop a Pepsi and everyone cheers? “Why can’t we all just get along? It is so simple. Let’s drink a Pepsi”. Miss me with that BS. Honestly, I found it insensitive and quite ridiculous. When you go to march we write our emergency contact info on our arm, our lawyer’s number, we cry at marches, we are angry. This whole ad is over simplfying protests and even reason behind it.
Pepsi, in your ad room did you all say to yourself, “Well there are a lot of protest going on lets just ad one in a commercial”? I have been a part of many marches and demonstrations. I march because my community or communities aren’t safe. I march because I have been disrespected or other communities have been disrespected. Mimicking a protest and featuring a person who hasn’t taken part in any of these protests is distasteful.
Protests and marches are not a fad and it is not trendy. 3-5 million women in our country (not counting the world) did not march for shits and giggles. We marched because we felt violated by the election of Donald Trump. A man who said he can grab pussy because he is a star. A man who said that a woman should be punished for having an abortion. Also a man who is actively trying to defund Planned Parenthood. A man who has been openly xenophobic, racist and islamophobic. People in Ferguson, Chicago, Cleveland, New York and all over did not march for Black Lives because we want the exercise. We are marching because we are dying and no one is held accountable. We march with Standing Rock because Native Indians rights have been trampled over, because of the genocide committed against them and we march to protect our Earth. Having someone like Kendall Jenner, whose family actively appropriates Black culture and who has been silent on the issues of our country, be featured as a lead for activism is offensive. To have Kendall Jenner offer a can of Pepsi and to have the crowd become overjoyed when the police officer accepts is offensive. As if we need to apologize to the police. Young people are fired up and protesting not because it is cool but because it is important and our lives depend on it. You really tried Pepsi but you did not hit the spot. **Chugs Coca Cola**