Blog #10: Pepsi Falls Flat


I’m sure you’ve heard about Pepsi’s big fat mistake last week. The Kendall Jenner ad, meant to appeal to millennials, was all sorts of wrong and Pepsi completely missed the mark. With tweets stating “Pepsi ended Black Lives Matter and police can now go home!” sarcastically teasing the soda brand, everyone had something to say about the issues that came with the commercial. I see and appreciate the direction Pepsi tried to go with the ad but unfortunately, having a photographer in a hijab and a protest backdrop doesn’t automatically make for an influential advertisement.

So how could this absurdly insensitive ad have been prevented? Simply by getting some other perspectives in the mix. I have an appreciation for in house marketing but an outside source such as an agency needs to be consulted with in times like this and with ads as politically charged as this specific one. Although in house marketing may know their brand and target audience better than an outside agency, the agency offers a new perspective that the brand may be too blind to see since they’re too close to the source. Brands might get too caught up with their corporate ladder that sometimes they forget what’s going on in the world outside. And the roles can easily be switched as well, it just so happens that in this instance, Pepsi was the side that took the hit.

Hopefully Pepsi can come back from this major misstep and correct their flawed campaign.

6 Comment

  1. Madison says: Reply

    This was very embarrassing for Pepsi. I’m surprised so many people agreed upon this! Way to trivialize an entire movement for their own monetary gain.

  2. Sanna says: Reply

    I think it is always an iffy situation to incorporate political controversies in your advertisement because you never know how people are going to react. I completely agree with you that Pepsi needed different perspectives, and I think it was a smart idea for them to pull the ad.

  3. Saloni says: Reply

    I was so surprised that Pepsi agreed to create to this ad. People who actually in real situations do not look as happy or glamourous as they do in that ad. The ad really trivialized very real social issues that people go through.

  4. Arielle Pagley says: Reply

    Aside from me completely hating all members of the Kardashian family, this ad was completely ridiculous. I would have loved to be sitting in on the meeting where the commercial got approved because it blows my mind that no one had the intelligence to say no… the ad was tasteless and I won’t be surprised if it takes Pepsi forever to recover from this one.

  5. Aubrey says: Reply

    Personally, I think it is not as much the commercial that is wrong rather than the timing. I do understand that it almost becomes mockery to those whose lives have been damaged and lost. It is very much making a serious problem more glamourized than it should be. But if the idea behind it– uniting different kinds of people, a celebrity stepping out of her shoes to join something bigger than herself, and to unite the police force and the protest movement. The idea behind it was not wrong. But the timing and the way it was so open-ended to be portrayed was in the wrong light.

  6. Emily says: Reply

    This was extremely embarrassing for Pepsi. I think it is very risky for companies to incorporate big movements/political issues into their campaigns unless they are extremely sensitive to the subject. Pepsi surely didn’t show any sensitivity and it almost felt like they were mocking the situation. I think they are going to have to make some major changes to rework their image after this disaster.

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