In this internet age that we live in, we have access to hundreds of thousands of controversial topics, be it a mother and child’s nude photo shoot, to footage of adults screaming racial slurs and obscenities at innocent protestors, to countless attacks on groups of people by the powers that be both here and abroad. And in the midst of all these sincere thought provoking discussions and disagreements this week was dominated by one of the most unnecessary, meaningless, reaching topics of controversy…a Pepsi commercial. Now over the course of history, Pepsi has put together some pretty entertaining campaigns, one of the most memorable of which will always be the little girl who would don the voices of people such as Don Corleone from the God Father, Joe Pesci, and the great Aretha Franklin. And even those that chose not to dote on star power tended to follow a typical trend of catering to the mindset of the youth at the time and to try to be as humorous or relatable as allowed in a commercial for deliciously carbonated poison. I can say that the recent ad featuring Kendall Jenner may have crossed a line or two, but in my humble opinion, it really wasn’t as serious as people are making it out to be. It’s been a common thread of certain companies ads to try and show that they have some kind of awareness as to what is going on in the country, whether it be for the super bowl, certain festivals & celebrations, or other events taking place across our nation, but given the history of the brand, I can say that this is the first time that they decided to potentially attack such a hot button topic as the recent marches and protests that have been happening in response to various injustices that people have been suffering as of late. So on the one hand, I can understand how some people may feel that the company is using these demonstrations as an attempt to capitalize on “suffering” however at the same time, given the company itself and what their product is, which again is caffeinated, carbonated, poison so it’s not that surprising that they would take advantage of something that is guaranteed to get people’s attention in an attempt to sell their product. The video itself opens with various people going about their daily lives, i.e. music, photography, just enjoying lunch with their friends and each person deciding to join the movement as it passed them by. In the midst of all this Ms. Jenner is in the middle of a fashion shoot and the Protest/parade passes by the location she is being shot, then when she finally diverts her attention to the occurring events she makes eye contact with a musician that is featured in the beginning of the video, throws off her blonde wig, and black lipstick and the next shot is her in a completely different outfit now making her way down the street in the midst of the people marching. The video concludes with Kendall approaching the front of the “picket line” and presenting a Pepsi to one of the police officers holding the line, and once he opens it the crowd cheers and the officer smiles and takes a sip.
Now when I first heard all of the controversies, I was picturing there being something more blatant such as people using all Black Pepsi cans, or someone holding up a sign stating “All Cans Matter” or “All Sodas Matter” or something to that degree, but honestly the video was more nonsensical than anything else. They took one of the least important women in the world, put a blue jacket on her, gave her a substantial amount of camera time and then she presented a soda to a standing officer. Stupid. Like I stated before I can understand why people may have varying opinions about the subject matter of the show, but the fact that everyone in the march protest is already in a jovial or happy mood doesn’t really make what some would call a “Mockery” of the actual process of protesting and marching. The internet has been awash with memes and commentary, even Dr. MLKs daughter has chimed in stating her displeasure with the advertisement,. I personally feel with the current state of our government as well as the rising tension with other countries and within our own country, there are more things to cause an uproar about than a soda company’s advertisement. It wasn’t a super bowl ad and it wasn’t being broadcast during a major television or spectator event, it was just in regular circulation. Like there’s subliminal messages being pushed in kids faces in cartoons and music 24 hours a day 7 days a week, but sure let’s get all up our asses about ONE Pepsi ad. And honestly, unless you plan on vehemently boycotting Pepsi and trying to get the product itself taken off of shelves, having a commercial taken off of the air really doesn’t make much difference in the grand scheme of things. Of course, people are allowed to have their own opinions, and far be it from me to tell someone that their opinion or feelings are wrong in how they interpret something, but it is my opinion that people may be overreacting a little bit in an attempt to find something to be upset or to complain about. Let me know your thoughts on what I’m going to call “Pepsigate 2017”, do you think the ad should have been taken down for its insensitivity or do you see it as just another example of advertising where the company is doing what it’s known to do and getting people’s attention?