Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner
It shows diversity on steroids. Blacks, Asians, Muslims, queers, and some token hipster-type whites. You can be sure that none of these people voted for Donald Trump. They are all having a fun good-natured protest march of some sort. Then Kendall Jenner takes off a blonde wig, joins the march, and gives a can of Pepsi to the best looking police officer in a row of police who are watching the march. The police officers are the only people in the video who probably voted for Donald Trump.
Since the commercial seems to be yet another case of our big corporations glorifying diversity, why is anyone upset about it? It’s just another example of how liberalism is now part and parcel of the establishment corporate structure.
It was, current activists say, precisely the opposite of their real-world experience of protesting police brutality.
In torrid criticism after the ad was posted, commentators on social media accused Pepsi of appropriating imagery from serious protests to sell its product, while minimizing the danger protesters encounter and the frustration they feel.
Elle Hearns, the executive director of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and formerly an organizer for Black Lives Matter, said the ad “plays down the sacrifices people have historically taken in utilizing protests.”
“No one is finding joy from Pepsi at a protest,” she said. “That’s just not the reality of our lives. That’s not what it looks like to take bold action.”
I don’t see any reason, based on the video, for the cops to be angry or fearful of the crowd, who just appear to be non-violent hipster types. There are no angry ghetto blacks to be seen. It looks to me like every actor in the video is a college graduate.
Now, if a TV ad showed a realistic view of protesting blacks as angry ghetto types who will beat anyone up who gets in their way, then the ad would surely be accused of being “racist.” The purpose of diversity marketing is to teach racist whites that the others are good people and that you should welcome millions more of them into the country. And when has a Pepsi ad ever been realistic? Pepsi always inserts itself into overly sentimental moments when in the real world calling attention to a brand of soda would be the last thing on anyone’s mind.
But this “protest” is more like a parade than a scary protest, with friendly-looking, happy, well-behaved participants who joined the march not because they are angry at anything but because they don’t want to be left out, so naturally the cops are in a relatively good mood, and of course the young cop will be pretty happy to receive the attention of the extremely attractive Kendall Jenner.
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I think the symbolism of the cop drinking a Pepsi is supposed to be that, by drinking Pepsi, the cop takes a small step towards being one of the cool, hip, praiseworthy, diverse people and not a dull, boring, possibly racist and fascist but definitely suffering from the sin of white privilege, establishment drone.
There’s also the hint that drinking the other brand of cola might make you a racist.