On Tuesday evening, the internet discovered a new commercial/short film that Pepsi had uploaded to YouTube.
Pepsi finally threw in the towel on its pricey new Kendall Jenner ad it had first posted to YouTube after nearly 24 solid hours of social-media savaging.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize,” the company said in a statement. “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further roll out.”
The company also apologized to Jenner.
In the ad, Jenner plays a fashion model doing a photo shoot as a crowd participating in a millennials-only protest moves by, flanked by somber white police officers. Seeing the protesters carrying peace signs, and other millennials drinking from Pepsi bottles at a chic sidewalk bistro, Jenner has an epiphany, flings off her blonde wig and her slinky silver minidress, dons a trendy denim ensemble and sunglasses, and joins the marching crowd. Grabbing a Pepsi, she bravely offers it to one of the police officers, who accepts the peace offering. The protesters erupt in fist-pumping approval, high-fiving their heroine Jenner, and they all live happily ever after, “bolder,” “louder,” and “for now,” as Pepsi suggests on screen.
Among the ads many vocal non-fans, were a large number who blasted it for trying to appropriate the Black Lives Matter movement following police shootings of African Americans, by mimicking one of its iconic photos – of 28-year-old nurse Ieshia Evans being arrested at a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to hawk soda:
Back when Pepsi still held out hope it could salvage the ad, the company explained it was intended to “truly reflect today’s generation and what living for now looks like,” calling the Kardashian family member at its epicenter as a celeb who “exemplifies owning ‘Live For Now’ moments.”
The ad’s many critics weren’t buying what they were selling, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s daughter Bernice King: