"Furthermore, at a protest, activists have been marching, sweating and many times mourning. So why would Pepsi choose to bypass the crowd and instead reward the police with a cold refreshing beverage? Would it not have been more appropriate to give Pepsi to the people?"
Today when we think of protests we think of violence.
With racial tensions high because of the numerous incidents of police brutality, which seem to have had a resurgence in the last 5 years sparked by the death of Trayvon Martin and rippled by countless incidents; it is a wonder why Pepsi found it a good idea to feature a police standoff as the setting for their new campaign.
“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.” said Pepsi via Twitter.
However, this ad seems to represent something quite different than people from different walks of life coming together.
And while I could spend a decent amount of time focusing on the numerous problematic elements of the advertisement like the lack of African-Americans represented in the crowd and police for that matter, the privilege and access of Kendall Jenner as a non person-of-color…or the uncanny parallels to recent devastating realities, there is one part of this commercial that I find particularly offensive.
That disturbing moment when Kendall Jenner hands the police a cold refreshing Pepsi. This is disturbing not only because this interaction implies that all it takes is a Pepsi to “cool down” the police. But furthermore the implication that the police in these situations actually deserve to be rewarded for their actions – when – police in these situations, in the context of our current social and political climate, have been guilty of unjust police brutality.
Furthermore, at a protest, activists have been marching, sweating and many times mourning. So why would Pepsi choose to bypass the crowd and instead reward the police with a cold refreshing beverage? Would it not have been more appropriate to give Pepsi to the people?
I cannot fail to mention that Kendall Jenner never actually protests with the people at any point during the commercial but simply goes from her photoshoot, through the crowd, and directly to the police.
Call it what you want, insensitivity, naiveté or just plain stupidity. Corporations and celebrities need to do better especially when representing social experiences. It is moments like these in our progression as a people that come as a shocking disappointment as we realize we may not be as far along as we thought we were.