Yesterday Pepsi launched a new commercial in which Kendall Jenner seemed to solve worldwide injustice by handing a police officer a Pepsi. Some people made fun of the ad while others, including members of the Black Lives Matter movement, were legitimately angry at Pepsi for co-opting a serious issue to sell soda. At first, Pepsi defended their commercial, telling Adweek, “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.”
It looks like they’ve now realized the commercial was a huge mistake. The company released an apology statement today that says, “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.”
The commercial has already been removed from Pepsi’s official YouTube account, though clips from it will no doubt remain on the internet forever.
In retrospect, it’s kind of funny that the new commercial was titled “Jump In,” and that the joyful protesters carried signs with the message “Join the conversation” in different languages. Viewers were more than happy to jump in and join the conversation to tell Pepsi how much they hated the ad—but of course that wasn’t really what the company wanted at all.