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Pepsi’s ‘Movement’ Commercial Sets Off Unintended Controversy

Pepsi released a new commercial starring Kendall Jenner, and the world has gone crazy. Unfortunately, it’s not a good thing for the soft drink company.

The Video

In the 2:30 video, people from all backgrounds are seen walking the streets as in a march protest. Numerous races, religions, orientations, etc are represented. They’re seen doing their jobs, then dropping it all to join the “movement”. In the mix, Kendall Jenner is in the middle of a photo shoot, then just walks off the shoot, removing the wig, becoming just another average person, and joins the march as well. 

My first reaction was, “Ugghhh, how long is this?”  Second thought, “ooohh, what’s that song?”  It’s Skip Marley’s “Lions” btw.  I didn’t see what was so wrong. The message was clear. It’s time to come together as a people and unite as one.  Love it. Then, the end…

The Controversy

In the final 30 seconds, Kendall easily makes her way through the crowd (after some miraculous wardrobe change while marching), and heads right past the front line and up to the row of officers lined up to stop the protest. Then she does the “unthinkable” and hands him a Pepsi. Gasp!  The problem most seem to have is that it appears Pepsi is the solution to the hate and division, and that Pepsi is capitalizing on the movement, calling them condescending and tone-deaf.

 Pepsi’s Response

“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.” Pepsi media statement.

I guess that’s where I sit. Pepsi had the right idea, that it’s time for people from all walks to come together in harmony. Problem is, we get so caught up in our minds and controversy, and over analyze it. Sure, it could have ended better. Granted, cashing in on Kendall Jenner as the “face of the movement” was probably not the best idea. And yes, the commercialization was so far over the top that it missed the intended target. But the idea, at its root, that’s it’s time for all of us to come together, is #Truth. I agree with this guy.

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