This morning, inside Pepsi’s headquarters, some disconnected marketing executive is packing up their office and boxing up their desk for green-lighting the most pitifully dejected, tone-deaf piece of advertising in recent memory. In case you missed it, the soft drink giant is facing serious backlash after clumsily placing Kendall Jenner at the center of some poorly produced, vapid attempt at co-opting the numerous protest movements that have sprouted in this time of considerable tension in the United States and worldwide.
The Millennial-pandering commercial features Jenner at a photoshoot, when all the whimsy is interrupted outside by a massive passing protest. Jenner quickly tears off her wig, wipes away her lipstick and runs outside to join the cause. She pops open a crisp, delicious Pepsi — *psstt* — walks straight up to a law enforcement officer, and offers him the can of happiness that eases all the tension in America! Sadly, it gets worse.
The Pepsi commercial seems to be a thinly-veiled recycling of The Chemical Brothers 1999 music video for “Out Of Control,” though somehow it manages to miss the original’s mark by almost, to be gracious, 100 miles. The original feature stars Rosario Dawson facing a tactical police force in a similarly tumultuous protest scenario. With the power of a bottle of cola, she fends off the riot squad, only for the camera to pan to what is actually a television set in a living room, Dawson actually being the star of a commercial playing on the TV advertising the fizzy beverage. Meta, right?
Its hard to deny both videos’ conceptual similarities. Pepsi has since pulled the controversial ad and issued an apology. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, though in this case, its unlikely The Chemical Brothers find anything flattering about Pepsi’s mess.