Remember that controversial Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad 3 years ago? It is starting to resurface as protests are happening all over the country.
The short film commercial by Pepsi called “Live for Now” released in 2017. It shows protestors taking over streets with police officers facing them, a similar scenario we are seeing today. In the ad, Kendall Jenner walks forward and gives a police officer a Pepsi, which then turns the protest into a big party, with the police officer smiling, and the whole crowd cheering. There was a lot of backlash after this commercial was released. Activist DeRay McKesson said that “This ad trivializes the urgency of the issues and it diminishes the seriousness and the gravity of why we got into the streets in the first place” (NBC News).
Back in 2017 right after the commercial got so much hate, Pepsi came out with an apology. Pepsi tweeted, “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 removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
This all died down, but 3 years later it came back. Protests had people jokingly referring back to the commercial, and someone got a picture of someone trying to recreate it. On Twitter, someone tweeted a picture of a protestor facing police officers, handing them a Pepsi with the caption “I can’t believe someone actually did this”. Twitter users loved this picture and played along. One person said, “According to Kendall Jenner everything will be fixed with this”. Another person sarcastically tweeted, “Guys if you’re going to a protest today don’t forget to bring a Pepsi! It might end police brutality and racism”, next to a picture of the Pepsi commercial. Someone jokingly said, “I told my niece I went to the protests and she thought I was Kendall Jenner in that Pepsi commercial”