The ratio of thumbs down to thumbs up at the ad’s YouTube page is running better than four to one as I write this. Clearly they were going for their own lame take on the famous “I’d like to teach the world to sing” hippie Coke spot from the early 70s, but that’s not where the zeitgeist is right now. To put it mildly.
And so they stand accused of a serious offense: Un-wokeness in the first degree.
If the Black Lives Matter movement were led by a 21-year-old white supermodel armed with a can of fizzy soda, then maybe everyone would just get along.
That’s the vision presented in Pepsi’s new ad featuring reality TV star Kendall Jenner — which has been met with widespread condemnation, with critics accusing the drinks giant of appropriating a nationwide protest movement following police shootings of African Americans…
Many people believe the final scene in particular is a direct reference to one of the defining images of the Black Lives Matter movement: a photograph of Ieshia Evans, a 28-year-old nurse being detained in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The cop scene does seem to be the key moment driving the online outrage Olympics over the ad, with NYT blowhard Charles Blow going for gold:
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) April 5, 2017
In fairness to critics, it is subversive. I didn’t read it as a commentary on Black Lives Matter specifically so much as a goof on Resistance!-era protest chic. The kids here aren’t protesting anything in particular; the protest seems to be mostly an excuse to get together outside with people their age and congratulate themselves for “joining the conversation” or whatever. It’s utterly vacuous and vain. Of course a next-gen Kardashian is at the center of it. Quite a kick in the nuts to demoralized lefties who got their first shot of post-election morale from the big Women’s March rallies the day after Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent airport protests after Trump’s travel ban. It’s amazing that Pepsi didn’t see the backlash coming.
“Portlandia” did a spot-on parody of the sensibility behind this ad — years before the ad itself came into being. Watch the second clip below. Millennials are going to change police brutality, one party at a time.
Update: Of the charge of first-degree un-wokeness, the jury finds the defendant guilty. Sentence: Removal of viral content.
Pepsi's statement. pic.twitter.com/ge8uMcamGa
— Jennifer Maloney (@maloneyfiles) April 5, 2017