Pepsi’s latest TV advert, starring model Kendall Jenner, has not gone down well with the public, sparking a major backlash online.
The ad begins with Jenner working on a photo shoot before being distracted by a public protest, removing her wig and makeup, and joining the crowd of folk who are armed with Pepsi brand-coloured placards.
Jenner, to the soundtrack song Lion by Bob Marley’s grandson, Skip, then seemingly diffuses a potentially tense situation by handing a police officer a refreshing can of Pepsi.
The public, however, has not found the ad to be particularly refreshing, with many people accusing the drinks firm of belittling social justice movements. In particular, racial equality activists have criticised both Pepsi and Jenner what they see as them cashing in on the Black Lives Matter campaign.
The advert, titled Jump In, is part of what Pepsi was calling its “moments” campaign. Pepsi described the advert as “a short film about the moments when we decide to let go, choose to act, follow our passion and nothing holds us back.”
A spokesperson for Pepsi said: “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 import message to convey.”
Pepsi has since pulled this advert. A Pepsi spokesperson said: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue,” the company said. “We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”