PepsiCo has been under scrutiny for releasing an ad that many have described as “tone-deaf.” It features Kendall Jenner of Keeping up with the Kardashians fame joining in on a protest reminiscent of many that have been recently held across America. It ends with her handing off a Pespi beverage to the barrage of cops overseeing the protest.
Many critics feel the ad not only profits off of hotly contested issues such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but it was a poor use of a polarizing celebrity. The brand released a statement on the matter stating, “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 ad was created by the in-house production team of PepsiCo, the Creators League Studio. PepsiCo still believed in the message they were trying to convey by stating that the ad, “reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey.”
However, most people were not buying what Pepsi was selling. According to marketing technology company, Amobee, 77% of digital content surrounding the word “tone-deaf” were linked to both Kendall Jenner and Pepsi algorithms. Esquire Magazine stated that the ad was executed “thoughtlessly.”
Pepsi had plans to release this ad globally, but have nixed the idea after the backlash.