It's a very, very tiny meaningless victory in a time when it feels like there is no justice. The advertisement will never live to sell another twelve-ounce can of soda pop! But, nothing is gone forever on the Internet. Those images survive, where the likes of Stephen Colbert can point out that those signs are so generic they might as well say, We Are All The Core Demographic.
As Colbert points out, it's the little details that made this commercial so absurd. Like, look at the face of the woman to whom Jenner hands her blonde wig? Why the hell did that guy bring a cello to a march?
But the biggest question of all is: What caused all of these beautiful people to take to the streets and choose Jenner as their leader? As Colbert said, "I'm guessing it's a protest for Attractive Lives Matter."
After an intense backlash, Pepsi has announced it is pulling Kendall Jenner's controversial protest advertisement. "Pepsi was trying to project a global a message of unity, peace, and understanding," the company said in a statement. "Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position."
The internet is in an uproar and it's a Kardashian's fault—or, at least, a Jenner sister. After a few days of teasing the campaign on her social media, Kendall Jenner debuted her new commercial with Pepsi. It's called, in keeping with our nonsensical times where words no longer stand for ideas and down is up, Live For Now Moments Anthem.
You almost don't need to watch it— you can imagine it— but somehow it's even worse than you think it'll be. Jenner is busy at a stuffy fashion photo shoot, but keeps getting distracted by a march of protestors walking past her window, until she decides to join them. The protest is blocked by a line of police officers, so Jenner thinks quickly and hands one a Pepsi. He smiles. She smiles. She fist-bumps a black guy.
The torches are lit, the pitchforks are hoisted. Hellfire has rightfully rained down upon Pepsi in the hours since Jenner posted the clip, with much of the criticism coming in the form of sardonic but anguished tweets. "I wish Eric Garner knew all he needed was a Pepsi," wrote director Xavier Burgin.
The campaign is tone-deaf, almost surreal in its thoughtlessness, and perverse in its attempt to use the fear and suffering of Americans to sell soda. It's also a little old-fashioned. Coca-Cola launched a similar campaign (see below) almost half a century ago, bouncing off protest motifs from the Vietnam War era. Many cultural critics consider I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke to be one of the most famous— or at least most popular and most successful— ad campaigns of all time. The song was catchy, the imagery was sweet: a large group of perfectly multi-cultural young people holding Coca-Cola bottles and wishing for a world in which we can "sing in perfect harmony". Buy the world a Coke, these carefree hippies suggest, and we won't have any more war.
Rico says the Coke commercial was a bit overly-sweet, but the Pepsi commercial was just stupid...