Pepsi Problems

Soda commercial creates conflict

by Bri Branscomb, Assistant Editor

Pepsi has released a controversial commercial on Tuesday depicting a group of smiling and laughing protesters as they march. The ad featured model Kendall Jenner as she joined the movement, and later approached a police officer offering him a can of Pepsi. As outrage erupted, the Pepsi company issued a public apology stating that they were attempting to “project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding,” and pulled the ad from all runnings.

“I can see where people have problems with it,” sophomore Erin McSorley said. “I personally think people are making way too big a deal out of it and it was done with good intentions.”

Those upset by the ad state that Pepsi’s portrayal minimized the severity behind protests, and took away seriousness from actual movements such as Black Lives Matter. Another grievance cited was that the commercial had Kendall Jenner, a white woman, shown as the one bridging the gap between the police and protesters, and seemingly insinuating that a can of soda would solve deep-seated issues between law enforcement and communities distrustful of them.  

“Pepsi wanted to cash in on the massive media attention of the recent protests and riots,” sophomore Jesse Williams said. “They were blind to see that what they made was a disgusting mischaracterization of current events.”

Others say that many overreacted to the Pepsi commercial. They claim that the intent behind the message was not one meant to be malicious or choosing sides; but rather one promoting and advocating for peace in the wake of riots and violence.

“I think the general public overreacted,” senior Josh Rogalski said. “Pepsi was just trying to make a statement about people coming together and unifying, regardless of whether it’s for [the company] or in support of our country. I personally don’t believe Pepsi was trying to undermine any particular movements that started in the past year.”

All rollout of the content has been halted, but can still be viewed on various social media sites, such as Youtube and Twitter. Featured model Kendall Jenner has made no comment on the commercial as of yet, and still has the video uploaded to her joint Youtube channel.

“I understand the message but I think it could’ve been portrayed in a different way,” senior Ivetta Jean-Louis said. “The whole idea of protest and where it comes from is a very sensitive topic. They aren’t all happy and fun. People are there trying to make a change about an issue that is very heart wrenching to them.”