Yesterday, Pepsi released a new commercial featuring Kendall Jenner that has been called, among other things, an incredibly tone-def co-option of recent political uproar around the world. It brought up comparisons to current issues around police brutality, with many pointing out that Jenner’s handing a cop a Pepsi would not have gone over so well if she weren’t a rich, white woman.
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.
nitially, the brand stood by the ad as backlash grew. An official spokesperson told Teen Vogue yesterday, “The creative showcases a moment of unity, and a point where multiple storylines converge in the final advert. It depicts various groups of people embracing a spontaneous moment, and showcasing Pepsi’s brand rallying cry to ‘Live For Now,’ in an exploration of what that truly means to live life unbounded, unfiltered and uninhibited.” They also released a statement to People, saying, “This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey.”
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