Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad Backlash: Lessons in Authenticity

After my last overview of various other campaigns, such as Coca-Cola – Share a Coke Campaign I thought let me bring you their biggest competitor Pepsi!

Pepsi Campaign Overview:

Pepsi’s 2017 ad featuring Kendall Jenner aimed to bridge social and political divides through a message of unity. However, it faced swift backlash for trivializing social issues. The objective was to tap into societal concerns, ultimately leading to unintended consequences.

Strategies and Key Elements:

The ad depicted a fictional protest where Jenner offers a Pepsi to a police officer, seemingly resolving tensions. The ad’s misguided attempt to link a soft drink with severe social issues sparked criticism for its tone-deaf portrayal.

Challenges and Impact:

The campaign’s challenge was attempting to solve complex societal issues with a simple solution and commercial product. The backlash highlighted the importance of authenticity and sensitivity when addressing social concerns in marketing. The incident showcased the potential harm of not fully understanding the context and emotions surrounding social issues.

Digital Integration Today:

Brands can learn from Pepsi’s misstep by prioritizing genuine social impact over commercial gain. In today’s digital environment, where social issues are discussed openly, brands should approach sensitive topics with caution and authenticity. Meaningful engagement requires understanding and respecting the complexity of real-world concerns.

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Image Credit: Time Magazine

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