Pepsi's protest-themed commercial has some folks reaching for a Coke

Posted at 9:55 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 06:54:50-04

Is Pepsi OK?

No, seriously. Are the advertising executives at PepsiCo doing alright? The soda company's latest commercial, which premiered today, has produced the largest non-carbonated explosion associated with its signature beverage since another Pepsi commercial left Michael Jackson with second-degree burns in 1984.

In the ad, multi-millionaire Kendall Jenner spots a protest -- its members carrying signs that don't seem to advocate for anything in particular -- outside her window and decides she has to take part, shedding her blonde wig and donning a jean-jacket to symbolize that she, a 21-year-old who earns an estimated $4 million each year, is truly a woman who understands the common people.

The marchers reach a police blockade, and the situation looks tense -- until social pioneer Kendall Jenner gives one of the officers a Pepsi. The protest becomes a party. The officer smiles. Pepsi has cured modern America of all its complex tensions.

Online response to the spot has not been kind, with many online commenters mocking the company for its use of protest imagery for advertising. Reaction on social media ranged from some saying the imagery was tone deaf, to it evoking a widely circulated photo of Black Lives Matter protester Leshia Evans last year in Louisiana. Evans was detained when she approached police at a demonstration in Baton Rouge

Pepsi said in a statement to Teen Vogue that the ad "showcases a moment of unity, and a point where multiple storylines converge in the final advert. It depicts various groups of people embracing a spontaneous moment, and showcasing Pepsi’s brand rallying cry to 'Live For Now,' in an exploration of what that truly means to live life unbounded, unfiltered and uninhibited."

We'll keep their message in mind if we ever need to get out of a ticket.