Pepsi’s Protest Ad is Breaking the Internet

The commercial “Disney-fies” the resistance, said one person on Twitter. “Nope,” said another.


Update: April 5, 2017 at 3:00pm EST. After much backlash on social media, Pepsi pulled this ad.

Like many of its advertisements, Pepsi’s new commercial features lots of hip, smiling young people in posh outfits. But here’s the catch: This latest commercial is set at a protest, clearly made to resemble one from the Black Lives Matter movement or January’s Women’s March. Energized youth pump fists in the air and hold up painted signs in many languages. The ad gets especially cringe-worthy when reality-TV personality Kendall Jenner offers a Pepsi to a cop, he drinks it, and crowds cheer in delight while a woman in a hijab snaps a photo. A tagline reads “Live Bolder.”

People immediately took issue with Pepsi’s latest marketing attempt. Daily Show writer Kashana Cauley chimed in: “So all us dark people have to do is convince a cop that the Pepsi we’re holding isn’t a gun.”

“This Pepsi ad is really dystopian,” commented another person on Twitter. “Disney-fies resistance. whitewashes and commodifies protest. wow there’s a lot to unpack there.”

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  • Jenny Luna

    Jenny Luna is a Ben Bagdikian fellow at Mother Jones. She covers education and immigration and her work has appeared in the Miami Herald, WNYC, and the Wilson Quarterly. Follow her on Twitter @J2theLuna or email her at jluna@motherjones.com.