PepsiCo released their latest ad late on Tuesday, shows Kendell Jenner in a photo shoot when she sees protesters marching. Then she removes her wig and wipes her lipstick off, Jand joins the protest. After she is seen wearing a baseball cap and casual outfit and handing over a Pepsi can to a police officer, making him to smile while marchers cheer on.
The spot drew criticism on Twitter, with users saying it belittled the anti-police violence protests over recent years in cities including Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore following police killings of unarmed black men and women..Some twitter feeds also show the comparison of Black Lives Matter movement, and circulated a 2016 image of Leshia Evans as a point of comparison. Evans, standing passively and wearing a dress, was detained by police in riot gear during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Pepsi later pulled a commercial on Wednesday stating "Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding," the company said in a statement. "Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout." Pepsi also made a statement apologizing to Kendell Jenner.
Pepsi said the ad was created by its in-house shop, Creators League Studio. Charlie Hopper, principal and writer at advertising agency Young & Laramore said such backlash is a risk brands take when they lack outside perspective.
Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., whose assassination occurred 49 years ago on the day Pepsi's ad debuted, tweeted a picture of her father protesting as an officer's hand grips his chest, with the caption: "If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi."