hen advertising is done right, it gives you all the feels and inspires you to do something, anything, that you otherwise wouldn't have done. The influence it incites could be as simple as you choosing a cheeseburger at lunch or it could plant a seed that will ultimately lead you toward making a major change in your life.
A cheesy Foldger's coffee commercial makes you call your mom. A commercial for a rehabilitation center leads an alcoholic to make a phone call. A Kay's Valentine's Day Commercial makes you realize your boyfriend is a dick and you decide to leave him. An insurance commercial turned humanitarian musical sticks in your mind and when you see your elderly neighbor struggling with her groceries later that day, you run over to help. Call them small things, but advertising can be powerful.
When advertising completely misses the mark it can also inspire you to do something that you otherwise wouldn't have done. Like, punch your television. Or never patronize a brand or company again. It can remind you that we live in a flawed society that still has work to do. Whether it's due to lack of awareness, ignorance, or straight up racism, advertising can both reveal and perpetuate the deeply-rooted flaws in our society.
Without saying it out loud, these advertisements manage to say it all, and show us exactly how far we have to go.
Pepsi attempts to solve the history of America's problems but just pisses everyone off instead.
Pepsi’s commercial starring Kardashian sister and supermodel, Kendall Jenner, aimed to promote peace during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, but instead, the company grossly demeaned and trivialized the complex and deep-rooted issues that the movement seeks to shed light on.
The Pepsi ad wasn't just tone-deaf. It was deaf, dumb, and blind.
Pepsi’s ad suggested to many viewers that decades of racism and police brutality could be cured by a pretty girl handing a cop a beverage. The meant-to-be feel-good ad didn’t just fail to capture the depth of current cultural dynamics; it perpetuated the problem.
Putting a bow on it don’t make it pretty, Pepsi. To the contrary, it undermines the blood, sweat, and tears of those fighting for real solutions to our real problems.
Meanwhile, Kendall Jenner hides in her room.
There was an uncomfortable moment of silence from Kendall Jenner amidst the controversy. While Americans were passionately debating Pepsi’s epic downplaying of our seriously flawed culture on social media, Kendall was MIA.
Not only did Kendall fail to take a stance on the heated issue, she didn’t publicly acknowledge the controversy at all.
That’s not awkward.
Pepsi originally defends their ad amidst backlash.
Come on, Pepsi. You’ve been around for awhile. You should know by now how to handle a P.R. firestorm. Even, I know. Remove the ad, apologize immediately, and begin damage control by redrawing consumer’s attention to your product with an indisputably noncontroversial red herring project. Grandmas are always good. Go give some Pepsis to grandmas. Film it. You’re welcome.
But no, Pepsi initially refused to accept their losses and alternatively opted to go down in flames rather than simply apologize.
Pepsi finally pulls its head out of the sand and apologizes.
After originally defending the ad, calling it a “peace march” (that’s great, Pepsi, and also totally beside the point), Pepsi released a statement the following day, stating:
Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.