UPDATE: Pepsi is pulling the widely criticized ad for appearing to trivialize protests for social justice causes.
“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,” the company said Monday in a statement.
PepsiCo had previously said that the ad would “be seen globally across TV and digital platforms.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Kendall Jenner is feeling the wrath of the Twitterverse thanks to her just-released commercial for Pepsi, with critics of the ad bashing it as a sleazy attempt by Madison Avenue to co-opt genuine political activism in order to sell a soft drink.
Titled “Live For Now Moments Anthem” and set to Skip Marley’s Lions, the commercial finds the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star posing for a photo shoot as a throng of young people march through the streets, carrying signs adorned with such slogans as “Join the Conversation.”
Jenner rips off the platinum-blonde wig she was wearing, ditches the photo shoot and joins the crowd in their march, as a line of police officers stands watching.
Finally, Jenner reaches into an ice-filled bucket and pulls out a can of Pepsi, which she brings to one of the thirsty cops, who happily chugs it. “Live bolder, live louder, live for now,” reads the ad’s concluding message.
While the ad may have attempted to tap into the burgeoning political activism that’s catching fire with American youth in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s election victory, it seems to be having the opposite effect, based on this sampling of Twitter reaction; even Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani weighs in.
Following the furor, Pepsi released a statement in defense of the ad: “This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony,” it reads, “and we think that’s an important message to convey.”
With files from The Associated Press