Pepi's new ad featuring Kendall Jenner is sparking controversy among social media users who have accused the company and the model of exploiting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The two-and-a-half minute commercial aired on April 4, US Weekly reported. It shows Jenner modeling while a group of multi-racial demonstrators march on the street. It concludes with the 21-year-old model joining the protesters, and ending the tension between police officers and demonstrators by offering one officer a can of Pepsi. The demonstrators then applaud and cheer as the officer opens the can and takes a sip.
But the commercial did not sit well with many social media users, who took to Twitter to voice their critiques.
- "I can’t believe Kendall Jenner ended police brutality and white supremacy with a can of Pepsi,” wrote one user. “Not bad for a girl with no talent.”
- “What a disrespectful ad," wrote another. "People are being arrested and dying fighting for justice. You solve it with Pepsi. Heinous.”
- "So according to [Kendall Jenner] and [Pepsi] the racial tension problem is just a matter of thirsty cops," another user joked.
- "If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would've gotten arrested," joked another. "Who knew?"
- "If this #Pepsi ad is the choice of a new generation, Im gonna need that generation to turn in its badge," wrote another user.
- "'But you said you wanted social media to talk about Pepsi.' - Advertising guy to Pepsi executive before agency is fired," joked another commenter.
Other users pointed out the similarity between the shot of Jenner handing the officer the can of Pepsi with the photograph of real-life demonstrator Ieshia Evans facing down a line of riot police officers during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana just before being arrested.
"I'm gonna end this thread with this picture. The picture ... that you mocked in this advertisement," wrote the user.
Pepsi issued a statement to Adweek defending the ad.
“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 important message to convey," the statement read.
Jenner has not responded to criticisms of the ad, but spoke about her excitement prior to the commercial's release.
"I am thrilled to join the legendary roster of icons who have represented their generations and worked with Pepsi," Jenner said in a statement.
"The spirit of Pepsi -- living in the 'now' moment -- is one that I believe in," she added. "I make a conscious effort in my everyday life and travels to enjoy every experience of today."