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.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.