Pepsi has removed a widely-mocked ad featuring Kendall Jenner after the company was accused of trivialising the Black Lives Matter movement.
In a statement to Teen Vogue on Tuesday, Pepsi defended the commercial by saying it depicted “various groups of people embracing a spontaneous moment … to live life unbounded, unfiltered and uninhibited.” But on Wednesday the soft drink giant walked back that earlier explanation and issued an apology to the public for the controversial ad, and to Jenner directly, for the poor marketing strategy.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologise,” Pepsi said in a statement on Wednesday.
Ummm... ya think?
The statement goes on to say: “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
The ad saw the supermodel leave a glamorous photoshoot to join a non-specific protest and eventually hand a can of Pepsi to a cop. This scene in particular was heavily criticised because many said it clearly took inspiration from the moment when Ieshia Evans, a black female protester peacefully stood her ground while being charged by riot police during a march against police brutality in Baton Rouge, La., in July.
Critics of the ad said that Pepsi’s use of the powerful moment in an advertising campaign callously minimised the struggle of minorities in America.
Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, was outspoken about her condemnation of the ad. She quipped that perhaps her father’s civil rights message might have been better heard if only for Pepsi.
You can watch the whole tone-deaf commercial here...