Friday, April 07, 2017

Kendall Jenner and Pepsi: Live, For Now

Pepsi just gave us the Best Reason Ever to drink Coca-Cola. They recently launched a short film that managed to unite the entire Internet into a single "NO!" If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to bear witness to history's worst commercial.

It's the one where someone said "Hey, I've got a great idea" and then tried to co-opt protests from the last few years, including Black Lives Matter and the Women's March on Washington.

A bunch of other people all said, "That is a great idea!" Then even more people who get paid lots of money to make smart decisions said, "Let 'er rip!"

Here's how the story goes.



Various artists — an Asian cellist, a female Muslim photographer, African-American dancers — are practicing their art because #ArtIsResistance, while Skip Marley's song, "Lions," plays.

Cut to scenes of a large, diverse crowd of protestors carrying signs and raising their fists in the air. They're all young, skinny, and pretty though, so it's not that diverse. Nobody asked the grizzled gray brigade to join.

The signs are painted in Pepsi blue, and the messages are very plain and non-offensive, like the office party planning committee would create if Marge from HR were in charge.

They're artful signs of peace symbols, messages of peace that mostly just say "Peace," and a couple that say "Be a part of the conversation" and "Join the conversation" in English, Spanish, and possibly Portuguese. And did I spot a banner in Korean?

One conversation I'd like to have is why these people are walking in slow motion the entire time.

They don't look like real protestors though, because they're happy. I know they're having a good time, but I assumed they would be upset about this conversation people aren't a part of.

On the same street, Kendall Jenner is momentarily distracted from her fancy model photo shoot, and she watches the passing crowd. She's in a blonde wig, a thick coating of arterial-spray blood red lipstick on her lips, looking bewildered and intrigued. But mostly bewildered.

Cut to the cellist practicing in a brick room painted Pepsi blue — subtlety is lost on Pepsi — who stops to see what all the hubbub is outside.

Now cut to the female Muslim photographer in a Pepsi blue hijab poring over photography proof sheets because real photographers don't use computers with giant monitors. We also learn #ArtIsFrustrating because she smacks the table and scatters proof sheets onto the floor before she's also distracted by the protest. She grabs her camera and follows them because #ArtIsSpontaneous.

The cellist has joined the protest, cello case on his back blazing Pepsi blue. He walks past Kendall Jenner's fancy model photo shoot. Their eyes meet for a brief second. Come on, he gestures with his head.

That's all she needs; he is a cellist, after all, and #ArtIsAbandonedResponsibilities. She whips off her blonde wig — images of casting off the Aryan ideal, anyone? — and tosses her luxurious brown hair, which is not a horrible mess despite being under a wig for the last six hours. She wipes off the arterial-spray lipstick because red is bad and magically changes into a denim patchwork outfit that your mom sewed herself in 1972, and begins marching with the protestors.

The crowd continues their happy protest march until they encounter a line of somber looking cops, all white, and they ain't gonna take no lip from no hippies. They stare across no man's land at each other, unsure of what to do. Will this erupt into violence? Will there be tear gas canisters and mass beatings?

But wait! Kendall grabs a can of Pepsi from a icy tub sitting on the street, like we're at a protest tailgate, and crosses the empty space between protestors and police.

"Is that a gun?" the cops wonder. "Do we have to take this skinny white chick down?"

But no, Kendall is all smiles and privilege as she walks up to one cop who looks like, but isn't actually, Jake Gyllenhaal and hands him the can.

Not-Jake-Gyllenhaal looks at the can. "Pepsi?" he wonders. The female Muslim photographer crouches down and takes pictures of one girl's bravery.

Not-Jake drinks the Pepsi and the crowd cheers as The Great White Hope, Kendall Jenner, high fives everyone. "She did it! She saved us all! Our protest has changed the world!"

Not-Jake looks at the cop next to him. "These hippies ain't so bad after all. Let's only beat a few of 'em down" as the message "Live For Now" closes our little morality play.

After a single day's outrage, Pepsi was appropriately embarrassed over their tone deaf commercialization of serious social issues, and they pulled the ad. They also apologized to Kendall Jenner for "putting (her) in this position."

Setting aside the spineless apology to a rich girl for making her even richer, I'm glad Pepsi realized they were as out of touch as a high school theater teacher asking whether you young people still liked the Led Zeppelins. And that they finally got to see what a real protest looks like.

Except I never did figure out what conversation we were supposed to join.


You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

2 comments:

  1. The blow by blow description certainly helped with the Pepsi nuances. You're right, laughing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ann. What's funny is that I started out thinking I was only going to have a third of this be description, and the rest would just be funny commentary. When I stopped with the description, I had over 1000 words, and no room for anything else.

      Delete

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