Pepsi's latest commercial bet with its ad, "Live For Now Moments Anthem", which was rolled out on Tuesday, has met with immediate online ridicule, leaving it not much choice but to respond by pulling the ad and preventing "further roll-out".
"Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position," Pepsi wrote.
In the now-removed ad, a number of multi-cultural, happy youngsters were joining a march of smiling "protesters", whom all hold politics-neutral signs such as "Peace" or "Join the conversation" in Pepsi-friendly colours as they danced along their way. The happy parade caught model Kendall Jenner's interest, who then shed her blonde wig, wiped her lipstick off, and joined the crowd. Finally, Jenner solved the problems of police brutality by offering one of the officers a can of Pepsi - as the officer took a sip, the crowd cheered, the officer smirked and exchanged nods with other officers.
The ad instantly sparked outrage in the form of tweets and memes as a "cynical attempt to capitalize on the current political discourse". Many criticised the ad for not showing concerns with asserting women’s rights or condemning Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, instead simplifying problems and processions into simple, happy, hip styled marches and selfies opportunities.
Rival Coca-Cola, on the other hand, seems to enjoy some benefits from the Pepsi drama.