The worst part of that awful Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad is a moment you probably didn’t even notice
It reinforces stereotypes of black female servitude in the most subtle, sinister way
It’s been a helluva bad week for Pepsi. It’s hard to imagine a time before their monumental fuck up, their submission for worst ad of all time where Kendall Jenner left a photoshoot to contribute in the most PG and incredibly vague protest in the world, thereby ending systemic racism and police brutality across the world with a single can of the stuff nobody orders unless their server says, “no we don’t have Diet Coke, is Pepsi OK?”
After presumably the worst few days of Pepsi’s PR Director’s life and a deluge of some of the most savage tweets to ever grace Twitter, the brand ultimately decided to pull the misguided ad. In a statement (read: biggest understatement of the century) they said: “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 pulling the content and halting any further roll out.”
It’s hard to pick out the worst part of the ad, which bizarrely must have made it through several board meetings where everyone nodded and presumably thought “yeah, this is legit”. Is it the bit where a man plays a cello on a roof for no reason? Is it when the protestors randomly breakdance? Is it the truly awful protest signs (one literally just says “join the conversation”)? Surely it’s the bit where Kendall gives the Pepsi to the cop?
Nah. Sean Kent, a comedian and founder of Breakingnews.com pointed out that the worst part of the ad is surely when Kendall decides to end racism – by making a black woman hold her stuff.
Obviously Pepsi’s entire venture was completely tone-deaf, but this one moment, that you probably missed the first time you watched it while you peeked through your fingers, cringing, is surely among the most ill advised. By letting Kendall Jenner, a white woman, lead the charge on a protest march (happily supported by her pally-POC), Pepsi might have “missed the mark” but by reinforcing stereotypes of black female servitude to get her to lead that charge, Pepsi did more than that.
While it might be easy to feel sorry for them for fucking up so badly – like when the joke act gets kicked off a talent show and we all feel a little bit sad – moments like this show that it’s not just “missing the mark”, it’s stupid, it’s irresponsible, and it’s offensive.
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