Kendall Jenner is again under fire after her infamous Pepsi commercial has resurfaced. Three years after the controversial commercial was taken off the air, Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad is back in the headlines. Protesters recalled the Super Bowl commercial amidst the current black lives matter protests. Kendall Jenner drew major backlash for participating in the tone-deaf ad.
Popular Instagram comedian, Everett Byram mockingly recreated the ad starring Kendall Jenner. It took place at an anti- racism protest in Los Angeles on Tuesday, June. The video which has since then gone viral on Instagram, shows him handing over a can of soda to an LAPD officer, but is rejected.
“Hey look, it’s a Pepsi, do you want Pepsi? Have it! Have a Pepsi, buddy!”, he said in the clip.
The officer told Everett that he appreciated the offer, but rejected it. “But it helped in the commercial,” Everett jokes. “I don’t drink soda,” the cop replied. Byram cleverly captioned the clip, “The Kardashian thing didn’t work.”
The ad resurfaced after photographs and footage of protesters facing police officers have been trending this week. Many mocked Kendall’s role in the ad while others have attempted to recreate it. However, they don’t seem to be getting the desired results. Protesters are sarcastically questioning why their recreations haven’t received the same reaction from the authorities as shown in Jenner’s ad.
Another incident saw a protester wearing a mask approach a riot police line and hand the officer a plastic Pepsi bottle. Someone captured the incident and captioned the photo, “I can’t believe someone actually did it.” The officer in the photo gave a thumbs-up for the camera, but we don’t know if he accepted the “peace offering”.
The infamous 2017 commercial
In April 2017, Kendall Jenner, popular model and media personality, teamed up with Pepsi to star in a new advertisement. Jenner is seen leaving a photo shoot to join the protest. She steps forward from a group of protesters who are holding signs that read ‘peace’ and ‘join the conversation’. Wiping off her red lipstick, the reality star approaches a line-up of police officers on the street. She goes up to an officer and offers him a can of Pepsi seemingly as a peace offering.
The advert drew references from the Black Lives Matter protester, Leshia Evans. Evans stood in front of the police before she was arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a year after the death of Alton Sterling by police in 2016.
In the weeks that followed, Kendall Jenner and the soft drink brand were highly criticised on social media. The ad was called out for its muffled message and its oversimplification of activism. Both parties received a lot of flak for trivialising social movements to sell a product. They were accused of ignoring Black people’s experiences following centuries of violent subjugation.
The advert, which was supposedly meant good naturedly, completely missed the mark. It failed to acknowledge the political implications of protest, systematic racism, white privilege and police brutality.
Pepsi and Jenner’s apology following the backlash
The tone-deaf advert was quickly pulled down by Pepsi. They went on to issue an apology statement on Twitter. “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 and are pulling the content and halting any further roll out. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.’
There was radio silence from the model’s side for months. However, she eventually discussed the backlash with her older sister on their popular reality TV show, Keeping up with the Kardashians. Her conversation with the beauty mogul aired in the 14th season of their show. ‘It feels like my life is over,’ Jenner said. ‘You made a mistake,’ replied Kim. ‘I would never purposefully hurt someone, ever,’ she continued. ‘I just felt so f*cking stupid. The fact that I would offend other people or hurt other people was definitely not the intent.’
Now that the latest protests are showing no signs of subsiding, Twitter users are taking the opportunity to jokingly call on Jenner to help ease tensions again.