The new Pepsi ad, starring model Kendall Jenner, is receiving major backlash from several people who are accusing it of exploiting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Social media backlash:
The ad, running two and a half minutes, features 21 year old Jenner joining a multi-racial protest and ending it by simply handing a police officer a can of Pepsi.
When the ad was revealed on April 4th, it was far from well received. Twitter has been flooded by commenters making fun of both Pepsi and Jenner.
One user wrote: “I can’t believe Kendall Jenner ended police brutality and white supremacy with a can of Pepsi. Not bad for a girl with no talent.”
While another twitter user wrote: “What a disrespectful ad. People are being arrested and dying fighting for justice. You solve it with Pepsi. Heinous.”
Others described the ad as “tone deaf,” “cingeworthy,” and “offensive.”
Jenner’s imagery of handing the cop the can was instantly compared to the real-life moment when protester Leshia Evans faced down a line of riot police with her hands outstretched during a Black Lives Matter demonstration, she was arrested afterwards.
A global ad:
On April 4th, Pepsi issued a statement to Adweek where it defended the ad saying: “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.”
Jenner hasn’t commented yet on the controversy the ad but she said she was thrilled to be working with the company as part of their new campaign, “Live for Now” before the ad was released.
Jenner released a statement talking about the collaboration saying: “The spirit of Pepsi — living in the ‘now’ moment — is one that I believe in. I make a conscious effort in my everyday life and travels to enjoy every experience of today.”