Can you get through this disgraceful Pepsi ad co-opting the resistance?
Pepsi finally did what we were all waiting for a brand to do: turned rampant protests and movements of resistance into battle cries for advertising. The soda company released an ad on Tuesday harnessing the energy of community action in an uplifting commercial featuring thought leader Kendall Jenner.
Just kidding about that last part. It’s really just Kendall Jenner throwing away a weave and worming her way through background extras holding uglyass signs in varying shades of Facebook blue, stealing a can of Pepsi from a street vendor, then handing it to a cop. People cheer, a hijabi photojournalist captures the momentous occasion, and Skip Marley’s “Lions” blares in the background.
The grandson of Bob Marley has made no bones about his track being used. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Skip marveled at Pepsi’s ability to pay him hella cash by using buzzwords to obscure any real meaning from his pay grab. “It’s such a good way of spreading a message, a gathering of unity,” Skip said. “So the music really goes hand in hand with the message of unity in this commercial. I was happy that I could be a part of the new movement. I was excited.”
Pepsi posted its ad to YouTube on Monday, garnering a whole lot of rage pieces across media. Journalists and activists alike are rightly decrying the spot, especially its ending imagery, which evokes Black Lives Matters protester Ieshia Evans’ arrest in Baton Rouge.
See how many Cokes you can shotgun without spitting them out in rage as you make your way through all two and a half minutes of this shitty commercial.