The Black Lives Matter protests all over the country have brought Kendall Jenner's infamous Pepsi commercial back to the forefront, and not in a complimentary way. The old ad showed Jenner at an idyllic vision of a protest that most activists seem to take as a fantasy, uniting the demonstrators and the police through their shared love of soft drinks. As actual demonstrations picked up this week, many people revisited this unpopular ad.
Major cities all over the U.S. saw demonstrations this week following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, along with other recent tragedies. The protests have escalated to shocking proportions in many cases, with police using riot gear on civilians and cities imposing curfews or even shutting down essential services. While Americans online are debating who is at fault and how things should be done differently, all seem to agree that there was no chance that protests would look like Jenner's Pepsi ad.
What all the Karens think protests should look like. pic.twitter.com/TfRgtGsmR5— Christopher Wylie 🏳️🌈 (2020 Home Edition) (@chrisinsilico) May 30, 2020
The commercial tracks Jenner in a slow-motion shot walking through a crowded protest, mingling with people of all demographics. She then crosses a wide gap and walks right up to a police officer to hand him a can of Pepsi. When he opens it and takes a sip, the entire crowd cheers wildly, as if all their grievances have been solved. The cop then smiles at one of his coworkers appreciatively.
The ad was released back in 2017, when the U.S. had already seen drastic demonstrations over other police killings of unarmed African-American people, including the 2015 Baltimore protests. At the time it was dragged by social media users and pundits alike until Pepsi finally pulled it from circulation.
It looks like the public perception of this unfortunate ad has not changed much. Critics have accused Pepsi and Jenner of appropriating and trivializing real social issues for a transparently corporate cause.
Disappointment in Jenner continues, with some fans hoping that she would at least speak out on demonstrators' behalf this week since she aligned herself with them in this ill-fated commercial. Instead, critics have pointed out that Jenner's social media output continues to be product placement, with no mention of George Floyd or the Black Lives Matter movement. Here is a look at the jokes as well as the real outrage over Jenner's resurfaced ads this week.
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where’s Kendall Jenner with a Pepsi when we need her? pic.twitter.com/kkhXXNbDTZ— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) May 30, 2020
kendall talked about fake airpods on her instagram story for 4 SLIDES for a paid promotion and had nothing to say about george floyd and other innocent black lives that were taken besides a broken heart emoji. wtf pic.twitter.com/JcencdrIqC— 𝐣𝐨𝐣𝐨 (@goIdnangeI) May 28, 2020
imagine having 130m instagram followers and as much money as kendall jenner and all you could do to spread awareness of the situation right now is post an emoji on your story.— karis ☆ (@caroliinasbaby) May 28, 2020
kendall jenner getting ready to cure racism with a pepsi pic.twitter.com/9OjxR0QReA— 𝕦𝕟𝕗𝕣𝕚𝕖𝕟𝕕𝕝𝕪 𝕓𝕝𝕒𝕔𝕜 𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕥𝕥𝕚𝕖 (@thotimus_primee) May 29, 2020
Kendall Jenner has 24 hours to respond.— 学監 (@vxrnvn) May 28, 2020
UPDATE: Ariana has unfollowed Camila, Lana, Kendall, Kylie, Taylor, and many other celebrities on Instagram. pic.twitter.com/q4GArSZJWj— 𝐀𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐚 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@ArianaWorldHQ) May 29, 2020
While we're talking about Madonna and Kendall Jenner, this is still one of the best tweets ever on Twitter...from April 2017.
Look at the replies... https://t.co/rleUoneCD6— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 28, 2020
Kendall Jenner has the Pepsi to stop all of this yet she does nothing.— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) May 30, 2020
Kendall Jenner must've run out of Pepsis— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) May 31, 2020
Kendall Jenner ass statement. No one is asking you to lead a conversation. We had the conversation. Push some policy or shut the fuck up https://t.co/X1LoL6LFg3— negative space cowboy (@brendanowicz) May 31, 2020