Whatever anyone may feel about them, protests are not situations of jest, imitation, or uninformed parody. Protests deal with people’s lives on different levels. If the protest doesn’t typically deal with wellbeing, it deals with the right to life. With that understood, protests are not something that should be imitated for the sake of promoting anything. This type of act only makes a mockery of serious situations that should not be touched.
Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi. I am beginning to question the intellect of your marketing department.
So, Pepsi decides to come out with a commercial that has a protest happening. For whatever reason, one quick glance gives way to the multicultural crowd that is there fighting for freedom justice whatever. And in comes Kendall Jenner (of all ironic intents) walking to the protest line to the police. To “break the ice”, she hands a cop an ice-cold Pepsi. Because Pepsi is the choice of a new generation that realizes all lives matter or some other bullshit.
Flat out: this was fucking horrible.
The Pepsi Protest Fail
I could go through the many different Twitter posts that sheds light to why this was a boneheaded idea, but I won’t. What I will do is shed light as to why this was awful.
The main reason why this was completely stupid is because a company is using a serious issue as a prop to push product. Making light of someone’s sacrifice to serve soda is never the salutatory idea. There is no honor in taking a situation of grave seriousness and turning it into an opportunistic march to make money. All capitalistic values aside, there must be room for sensible standards. And those standards should say that certain subject matter is out of bounds.
The second problem looks at the first and narrows the focus: it marginalized the disenfranchised of America. Namely, it made a total mockery of any struggle that is black, feminist, LBGTQ, or any other group in this nation (and the world). To take their struggles and minimize them to the lowest common denominator of Pepsi peace offerings is a tad bit ridiculous. And the pettiness from detractors will flow because a company worked to minimize the struggle of people to a friendly gesture of peace as being a solution.
The last, and most ironic, issue is the inclusion of Kendall Jenner in the commercial. The application of a reality TV star whose family is known for pimping their image will always bring pause. Trying to connect them with an issue that they have no understanding of brings even more furrowed brows. The Kardashian brand is anti-anything dealing with protest and equal rights for all. Thus, the Kendall Jenner inclusion is injury to insult.
Pepsi Should Protest Their Bad Ideas
At the end of the day, Pepsi is not the answer to life’s ills. Therefore, it would make sense to not put themselves out there as a healing factor to real problems in the real world. I’m beginning to question whether they have pure yes men in their marketing meetings. Regardless of that, this is a debacle that they will learn from. The lesson is clear: promoting product through props of fake protest is does not pushing the envelope of common sense.
Maybe they can be the reserve of Nike and “just don’t do it”? Wishful thinking.