The Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad has now been pulled out after sparking outcry for borrowing scenes from the Black Lives Matter movement, with people saying that it trivialized the significant protests against racial killings.
In a statement cited by the New York Times, Pepsi apologized for the controversial commercial and explained their true intent when they first thought of the ad.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the statement released on Wednesday stated.
“Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”
The controversial advertisement released on Tuesday highlighted supermodel and reality TV star Kendall Jenner who appeared in the ad’s climactic scene where she hands out a can of Pepsi and halts the chaos that is erupting amidst the protest.
This, as Pepsi mentioned in their statement, should have been the pivotal moment where people would understand each other, unite, and make peace.
But the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad launched a different set of reactions contrary to what the cola company has expected as activists, especially those who support the Black Lives Matter movement, deemed the scenes portrayed in the commercial as unrealistic to say the least.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, even Late Show host Stephen Colbert made fun of the controversial two-minute clip while alluding to the ad’s similar imagery with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“So far we don’t know what has caused all of America’s hot extras to take the streets. But I’m guessing it’s a protest for Attractive Lives Matter.”
On top of that, Hollywood superstar Madonna took to Twitter to criticize the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad by posting in social media how her commercial with the cola company was also pulled because she “was kissing a black saint.”
Madonna took to Instagram to talk about the controversial Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner & subtly shades Pepsi in another post. pic.twitter.com/RqrCMYnWVi
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) April 6, 2017
Aside from celebrities, regular people also flooded the social media with criticism for the ad.
This #PEPSI ad is exactly why cultural diversity is NECESSARY in digital media and marketing offices! Cultural diversity is a MUST in 2017.
— ????Cara D. (@thecarad) April 5, 2017
Some even recalled the kind of commercials Pepsi used to pull, highlighting the company’s popular ad in 2004 that featured Beyonce, Britney Spears, and Pink.
this is the only pepsi ad i know pic.twitter.com/kelkS4C1tG
— . (@deancasIut) April 5, 2017
On top of that, human rights activist DeRay Mckesson and Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice King joined the people in voicing their opinion of the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 5, 2017
— deray mckesson (@deray) April 4, 2017
If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would've gotten arrested. Who knew?
— deray mckesson (@deray) April 5, 2017
But why did the ad get such a reaction? TIME was able to breakdown some of the things that went wrong in what the outlet described as “a glaring misstep.”
“In any climate, an ad that seems to explicitly reference both black anti-police-violence protesters and Vietnam War protesters, all to sell soft drinks, would be misguided,” the article explained.
“That’s to say nothing of the fact that the recent incidents in which protesters have faced down police have been black people without famous names (like Baton Rouge protester Ieshia Evans) taking real risks, not white supermodels dispensing cola.”
Moreover, the outlet noted how Pepsi may have delivered such “tense and stressful moment” on a “discordant note” to today’s media consumers who have become “one degree or another, much more careful in parsing and understanding images.”
Come to think of it, the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad may have achieved at least one of the company’s purpose for it (unity, peace, and understanding) based on their recent statement and apology: it united the people in criticizing the commercial.
Meanwhile, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star at the center of the controversial ad made no further statements aside from the one released prior to the uproar.
“I am thrilled to join the legendary roster of icons who have represented their generations and worked with Pepsi,” she said.
“To me, Pepsi is more than just a beverage—it registers as a pop culture icon and a lifestyle that shares a voice with the generation of today. The spirit of Pepsi—living in the ‘now’ moment—is one that I believe in. I make a conscious effort in my everyday life and travels to enjoy every experience of today.”
Are you among those who dislike the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images]