In an effort to make money from the pain and suffering of millions of oppressed people, Pepsi released a new ad on Tuesday starring Kendall Jenner called the “Live For Now Moments Anthem.” Facing swift backlash for co-opting not just the #BlackLivesMatter movement but the upswell of resistance groups in America, Pepsi pulled the ad, but not before their clueless privilege was plastered all over the internet. The New York Times described the video as “attractive young people holding milquetoast signs with nonspecific pleas like ‘Join the conversation.'”
The outrage comes from the fact that not only is Pepsi trying to commercialize a political movement, but using a celebrity who is perhaps the pinnacle of white privilege to do it — certainly a girl who has never marched for anything in her entire life. The video depicts her violating a cardinal rule of protest solidarity: Don’t go over to the cops and try to be friends.
Now the ad has caught the attention of Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights pioneer Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 5, 2017
King isn’t alone in her sarcastic disgust:
Let us not judge by the color of our logos, but rather the content of our cans!
-MLK Jr. "I Have A Pepsi" Speech ( August 28th, 1963)
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) April 5, 2017
— Callum Troup (@callum_troup) April 5, 2017
All this time I thought he was throwing up the peace sign but he was really ordering 2 Pepsi's to go. pic.twitter.com/nKboRI2scL
— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) April 5, 2017
Have y'all seen the Pepsi commercial where Selena Gomez pours one out for the homies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
— Yassir Lester (@Yassir_Lester) April 5, 2017
STATEMENT FROM PEPSI: We were trying to say "be nice to cops" & "your protest doesn't matter." We succeeded but ppl don't like that bullshit pic.twitter.com/txcs1ORIVp
— maple cocaine (@historyinflicks) April 5, 2017
It’s not the first time a major company has tried to capture the political zeitgeist in an ad campaign, but it is definitely one of the most oblivious.
Since Pepsi has pulled the ad, it has been re-uploaded by the Norwegian media outlet Dagbladet (“Dayblade”), so it is still viewable for now. Watch it here: