Last night, Twitter held a roasting session of Pepsi for its new “Jump In” commercial, which stars Kendall Jenner. In the face of widespread censure, the cola brand’s PR team is busy doing clean-up work.In the controversial ad, Jenner walks out of a photo shoot to join some sort of festive social demonstration. It ends with her walking into the “no man’s land” between the rally and a police blockade and bravely handing an ice-cold Pepsi to one of the cops. The immediate social media backlash dealt with Pepsi’s implication of real-life protests, in which threats of police violence can’t be assuaged with a soda. Critics have also noted that the profits of the Jenner-starring commercial will, ostensibly, go straight to Pepsi and not toward any social justice organizations.
Without tackling any criticisms head-on, Pepsi maintains that the message delivered in the ad — which will be broadcasted globally, both digitally and on TV — is an important one. “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,” reads a statement that Pepsi sent Adweek.
“The ‘Jump In’ Pepsi Moments film takes a more progressive approach to truly reflect today’s generation and what living for now looks like,” Pepsi said in another press release.
— deray mckesson (@deray) April 4, 2017
“To me, Pepsi is more than just a beverage,” said Jenner in a statement of her own, “it registers as a pop culture icon and a lifestyle that shares a voice with the generation of today. The spirit of Pepsi — living in the ‘now’ moment — is one that I believe in. I make a conscious effort in my everyday life and travels to enjoy every experience of today.”
It’s safe to say neither Jenner nor any Pepsi executives will be on the front lines at the next Black Lives Matter protest.