Recently Pepsi Cola published an uninspiring ad featuring Kendall Jenner; I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now. The spot was produced extremely well, great visuals, crisp soundtrack, and decent enough acting. So why all of the outrage? Looks like the corporate team over at Pepsi is out of touch with today’s audience. Here are a few reasons why I think this spot failed to connect with its intended audience.
Nothing about the ad spot seems authentic. Rather, it seems that the Pepsi brand is trying to capitalize on activism. There are real issues in the world that many people are actively trying to address through political participation. In the real world issues are not solved by a single soft drink. Pepsi isn’t the only brand to do this, several others are. They were just the only ones that were caught recently doing it.
Cellos are Heavy
If you’re a classically trained musician like me, then noticed something pretty glaring; cellos are heavy. Honestly, what is the practicality of practicing on a helipad with ladder only access?! Later in the ad spot the same cellist is seen participating in a protest with the cello strapped to his back. Real musicians don’t put their expensive, prized instruments in harm’s way like that, nor do we like to carry them on our backs for hours on end.
Who Drinks a Soda Like That?
I understand you need to get the best possible shot, but really who turns their head 90° to take the smallest sip possible? To be honest, we don’t even know if anything was in the can. We never see the cellist swallow, like a normal person.
Pepsi Solves the World’s Problems
Ever been to a protest? Not usually a lot of room for soda promotion. In fact one journalist tried just this at a Portland City Hall meeting. It did not go over well. It’s rather funny how scared Mayor Ted Wheeler was when he was handed a Pepsi. Guess it doesn’t really work after all.
Hollywood Style Cheesy Ending
For me the worst of it was the final scene; the Hollywood slowmo walk towards the camera. All you need is an explosion in the background and these protesters go from nice & peaceful to badass. Live Bolder, Live Louder, Live for Now. What does that even mean!?
It’s not all bad for Pepsi if you look long term. Sure, the ad spot was shown to be disliked by the majority of people, but it still had people talking about the brand. After all, the current view count on Kendall and Kylie’s youtube channel is almost 8.5M views.
Perhaps Pepsi failed to account for cynicism in today’s society? Either way the pressure was off of Pepsi after the weekend ended. The spot was pulled and United Airlines went for the Gold in bad publicity. TLDR; Pepsi: “Well we were off target on that one, but we prevented any further brand damage. At least it can’t get worse for a Brand.” United: “Hold my beer.”