Twitter has seen Pepsi's new ad featuring Kendall Jenner, and Twitter has thoughts. Thousands of them.
The commercial, released on Monday, features Jenner abandoning her high fashion photo shoot to join a rising protest in the streets outside. She makes eye contact with some guys in the crowd before strolling right up to a cop and handing him a can of Pepsi. He takes a sip and smiles, and the crowd goes wild.
Since its release, people are not shying away from sharing their disappointment on Twitter. While the ad was clearly an effort to portray a relevant but inoffensive message of social unity, people are calling it an inauthentic, opportunistic marketing ploy.
One critic wrote: "@pepsi @KendallJenner please utilize a white model to appropriate and capitalize on a movement that is defined by race and racial disparity." Another tweeted, "So you mean to tell me this whole time all we had to do was offer a cop a Pepsi and they wouldn't kill unarmed Blacks during routine stops?" Many are comparing one scene in the ad to an iconic photo of Baton Rouge protester Ieshia Evans.
Meanwhile, lots of detractors are using biting sarcasm to mock the ad. Someone tweeted, "who else is reminded of Dr Martin Luther King's famously resonant 'I have a Pepsi' speech." Comedian Patton Oswalt imagined a fictional scenario for another ad in the campaign: "J. Edgar Hoover takes aim from the grassy knoll. The motorcade approaches. He fires. JFK raises a
#Pepsi to his lips, blocks the bullet." Someone responded with this jest: "Rosa Parks sits at the front of the bus. Angry redneck approaches. Rosa cracks a cold Pepsi. Redneck cracks a smile. Thumbs up."
In a statement to Teen Vogue on Tuesday, Pepsi defended the ad. "The creative showcases a moment of unity, and a point where multiple storylines converge in the final advert," reads the statement. "It depicts various groups of people embracing a spontaneous moment, and showcasing Pepsi’s brand rallying cry to 'Live For Now,' in an exploration of what that truly means to live life unbounded, unfiltered and uninhibited." Clearly, that's not what all audiences saw.
See some of the most fiery tweets and the full ad, below.