I have abridged the following for the sake of brevity. The author of the article (Simon Childs) compares the Pepsi protest-vid advert that “says nothing” with pictures that depict the reality of political protests. As we well know, the Pepsi corporation isn’t in the business of changing the power structure – they are part of the beast. (r. a. note)
UPDATE: PEPSI PULLED THE AD. I didn’t think it would get that much coverage, but apparently it did. (r. a. note)
VICE By Simon Childs Posted Wed., April 05, 2017
Delicious and virtuous soft drink Pepsi Max has a new advert that is making the world a better place at this very moment.
The video (below) features Kendall Jenner, (pic above) who leaves a modelling shoot in order to join a protest. It ends up with her having a really great time with the police who are overlooking the protest.
It’s set to an inspirational anthem by Skip Marley with the lyrics:
We are the lions / We are the chosen / We’re going to shine out the dark
We are the movement / This generation / You’re gonna know who we are
Woah! Really makes you think!
Some naysayers on the internet have criticized the advert both for commercialising protest movements to sell fizzy pop, and for representing the police as quite nice people when actually they’re total arseholes. This strikes me as a pretty ungrateful attitude to take when someone’s genuinely trying to do good.
Whether they really want to change the world, or just boost their sales figures, is a debate that we’ll still be having years from now, but the immediate question is how effectively they captured the spirit of protest. I’ve looked through some key moments and weighed it all up.
I don’t want to accuse Pepsi of choosing an innocuous slogan so they can market protest iconography without saying anything political, but the only way “Join the conversation” is going to startle the powers that be is if that conversation starts, “Do you know what it’s like to clean up your own mother’s piss?”
What Pepsi have failed to realise here is that authenticity is now marketable, and nobody is really going to go on a protest in order to say almost literally nothing. (continues below pic)
Responding to criticism about the ad, Pepsi said, “This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey.” Personally, I think the above is a more important message to convey.
Here’s the Pepsi ad vid