Pepsi pulls Kendall Jenner's widely criticized protest spot

Cola maker apologizes for missing the mark after spot is trashed online
4/5/2017

Pepsi is pulling an ad that has been widely criticized for appearing to trivialize protests for social justice causes.

"Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,'' the company said in a news release. "Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize."

The ad shows Kendall Jenner, a member of the Keeping Up With the Kardashians reality TV family, stepping away from a modeling shoot to join a crowd of young protesters. The protesters cheer after Jenner hands a can of Pepsi to a police officer, who takes a sip.





"We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position," PepsiCo said.

PepsiCo had previously said the ad would "be seen globally across TV and digital" platforms, and had stood by the ad late Tuesday.

Critics said the image of Jenner handing the officer a Pepsi evoked a photo of Black Lives Matter protester Ieshia Evans approaching an officer at a demonstration in Baton Rouge last year.

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Among those mocking the ad was Bernice King, who tweeted a photo of her father, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., being confronted by a police officer at a protest march. "If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi," the tweet said.

It isn't the first time PepsiCo has backpedaled and apologized for an ad. In 2013, it pulled a Mountain Dew ad that was criticized for portraying racial stereotypes and appearing to make light of violence toward women. It pulled that ad from online channels, and said it was never intended to run on TV.


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