​More woke than Coke: Pepsi slammed for tone-deaf protest ad

You remember where you were.

The day you walked alongside Martin Luther King. The countless hours you spent occupying Wall Street. That time Kendall Jenner gave you a Pepsi...

The beverage company is facing a massive backlash on social media over its latest ad, featuring model Kendall Jenner, which critics have slammed for cheapening civil protest in the name of selling cola.

The 30-second spot starts as typical ad-land fair. Kendall Jenner is at a photoshoot when protesters start walking by her down the street. So the model/Instagrammer/reality star/all-round Slashie ditches her wig and makeup (stars! They're just like us!) and joins the protest.

But when Jenner breaks free from the masses and stares down a line of riot police, that's when we start to get a little nervous. She has the solution! Give the fuzz some Pepsi and suddenly this protest is chill AF -- thanks to the joy of Pepsi-Cola.

Sure, the protest is more vanilla than a spin-off from a rival cola brand.

But maybe appropriating the imagery of the civil rights movement, the women's lib movement and countless other major pushes towards social and political change wasn't the most woke thing to do?

There's no reason why brands can't get political. Airbnb and Audi used their air time at the Super Bowl to call for acceptance and equality in modern society, while Cadillac addressed "a nation divided" with an ad spot during the Oscars.

But the reaction against Pepsi has been swift, with the Color of Change campaign specifically calling out the brand for using images "exploiting the activism of Black women."

Pepsi has defended the ad, saying in a statement, "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."

Whether it was an ad pitched at a modern generation or tone-deaf appropriation, we've certainly learned one thing out of this: There's nothing as refreshing as dismantling the tools of systemic injustice. YOLO!


Twitter Rips Pepsi, Kendall Jenner for ‘Tone-Deaf’ Protest Commercial

In an attempt to court a politically active younger demographic, Pepsi may have instead set them off.

A new ad for the soft drink stars Kendall Jenner as a high-fashion model, donning a blonde wig in the midst of a protest. It’s not clear what the protest is supposed to be about — many of the signs read general phrases like “Join the conversation” and “love.”

Beckoned by one of the protesters, Jenner eventually rips off her blonde wig and joins the fray. Grabbing a can of Pepsi, she heads toward one of the grim-faced police officers, and hands him a drink. He accepts and smiles, eliciting cheers from the crowd.

It’s hard not to compare the image of Jenner handing the can to the police officer to the award-winning photo from a Baton Rouge, La., protest against police brutality last July. In it, Ieshia Evans can be seen, calm and collected, offering her hands for arrest to a group of riot-gear-clad police officers.

In the YouTube description for the commercial, titled “Live for Now Moments Anthem,” Pepsi calls it “a short film about the moments when we decide to let go, choose to act, follow our passion and nothing holds us back.” It features “Lions” by Skip Marley.

Following the release of the ad, Pepsi quickly began trending in the U.S. on Twitter, as many social media users ripped it to shreds. Reactions ranged from humorous jabs (“Hi, I’m Rachel Dolezal for Crystal Pepsi”) to calls for whoever greenlit the commercial to be fired.

Kendall Jenner criticised over Pepsi advert

Kendall Jenner's been accused of undermining the Black Lives Matter movement in her new advert for Pepsi.
In it, she leaves a photoshoot to join protesters calling for love and peace, before handing a can to police as a peace offering.

The officer cracks a smile and the crowd cheers.

It's been criticised for painting a "privileged, white" supermodel as a peacemaker between civil rights activists and police.

Pepsi posted the advert on its YouTube channel.
Some have suggested the ad looks similar to a picture of Ieshia Evans who was charged by riot police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016.

In a statement, Pepsi said: "This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony.

"We think that's an important message to convey."

There's no word from Kendall yet.

In 1971, Coca-Cola made a similar advert based on the Vietnam War.

Critics think the ad's based on recent protests over police brutality against black people in America.

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