Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Pep(si) Talk

You've all seen this by now; Pepsi have had a new ad campaign where they were trying to push diversity and all that good shit but instead, they've ended up offending everyone.

The premise of the advert is people are marching for a... reason. Right off the bat, we can draw comparisons from this to the Woman's March that occured during Donald Trump's inauguration or the many Black Lives Matter marches. BLM plays a huge role so I'll touch upon it later.

Yeah! Join the non-specified conversation!
During the march, we cut back and forth between a Western-Asian lady in a hijab clawing her way through photos, an Eastern-Asian man rocking it on the cello and... Kendall Jenner?
A lady that is famous purely for her sister's arse is our hero? Sign me up m8!
It's kind of hard to be on board already. This ad is showing a fight for the "little man"; the ethnic minorities, the poor, the women, the non-straights and the person to help push all of this is a woman that's rich and famous purely by association. If they had someone who worked hard for their fame or came from a hard background, I may have been more tame towards this. They would have represented the idea that we can break through our boundaries and become what we want to be. Kendall is under a fortnight younger than me and she sees more money in 15 minutes than I ever will in my entire life. I cannot see how this was a good choice for our "leader".
There's a few more cuts to photo lady and cello man (gotta get the shots of those Pepsi cans!) who join the march after they had a good sip of a refreshing Pepsi. Then, after some more shots of every creed and colour in this march with Pepsi logos all over the place, cello man spots Kendall and prompts him with those special eyes of his.

I need healing!
There's a weird mutuality to it, like he knows exactly what she's thinking and him just looking at her gives her the courage to join the march (I thought it would've been a Pepsi) which is followed by the second dumbest segment.
Boom! She rips off her blonde wig, a symbolism of breaking away from conformism! Money doesn't matter, only people! Apart from that bag of money Pepsi paid you to be in this advert to pretend to care about the smaller guys.

We have shots of some more people of different varieties, followed by more shots of Pepsi and some police officers standing by the protest.

I am the law!
Notice how the coppers aren't being facetious, aren't being violent and aren't antagonising the protest. Despite this, you know exactly what the ad is trying to do. It's shot them in a way to make them seem like the "bad guy" and we presume this straight away as we draw comparisons to the BLM marches. BLM can spark debates all day but this is the main reason as to why everyone doesn't like this advert. To some, it's antagonising all police officers as the bad guys who hate minorities. Let it be clear that there is definitely a problem, especially in America, with police officers racially profiling and police brutality towards minorites but of course, it's the case of bad apples spoiling the bunch. To others, this trivialises the BLM movement, especially with a part later in the ad. To want us to be unified is fine and dandy but it's kind of taking the piss when you're throwing Pepsi in our face every five seconds. It's very reminiscent of the line "Police taking shots and I ain't talkin' bout Ciroc" in the song 'Don't Shoot' by The Game and many collborative artists, Ciroc being P. Diddy's expensive vodka that he references in his own line. It's piggy backing off an issue in order to sell a product.

But folks, we're not even at the worst part. That comes up next. We get more shots of Pepsi, more shots of the march and Kendall fist bumping and being buddy buddy with folks in the march as she grabs a Pepsi can. With no hesitation, she catwalks over to one of the police officers... and offers the Pepsi as a fucking peace offering.

Wow! All my racial, sexual and gender-specific prejudices are all gone thanks to this canned beverage!
This is the shot that grinded everyone's gears. The shot that cheesed everyone's onions. The shot that got on everyone's tits. I'm pretty sure if someone walked up to a cop with apparently that much prejudice during a protest with a can of Pepsi, they'd get pepper sprayed in seconds. All those decades of social tension, how do we solve it? Mother-fucking Pepsi. What a load of bollocks.
We also have a situation to compare this to. As everyone else has brought up, Isesha Evans was apart of the BLM march for Baton Rouge after the shooting of a black man from the hands of police brutality. Iesha was checked, ID'd and profiled by police all day. As retaltiation, she took a stand and peacefully stood in front of armoured police officers as they rushed towards her. They arrested her for obstructing a highway.

The powerful image taken by Jonathan Bachman of Reuters
She was strip-searched and treated poorly in jail for such a minor crime. Iesha stood for something and her stand was not in vain. She also didn't trivialise the situation by giving the officers rushing towards her a fucking Pepsi.

The bobby smugly sips the can and everyone cheers as the camera girl takes a photo, like they solved prejudice by giving one cop a can of Pepsi. It then cuts to the group with the slogan "Live Bolder, Live Louder, Live for Now!" which is ironic, considering any carbonated drink is bad for you.

We are under huge social tension currently in regards to many things such as race, gender, sexuality and many other aspects. People are scared to just be themselves because of the chance they'd get brutally beaten just because of who they are. People fear the bad police out there who will racially profile them and fear that they could get shot just because of who they are. To use something as sensitive as this to sell a fizzy drink is disgusting.

Fuck this ad. Bring back Pepsiman.

The advert has now been taken down. All screencaps taken from a mirror uploaded by The Independent.

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