In case you haven’t been on the Internet in the last 24 hours, Kendall Jenner and Pepsi have been at the center of a social media storm regarding her debut ad for the brand, titled “Live For Now Moments Anthem,” in which she joins a protest and hands a policeman a Pepsi to alleviate the tension. Reaction to the ad was swift, with a variety of people (from Lena Dunham to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daughter) weighing in to call it tone-deaf (or worse), and outlets including the New York Times covering the controversy. Pepsi initially defended the spot, calling it “an important message to convey,” but after furor didn’t die down, they decided to pull the ad altogether.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global a 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 pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position,” the brand said in a statement.
Jenner, who landed in Paris Wednesday, has not weighed in on the backlash and subsequent ad pull, though she has deleted all her Tweets about the ad except one that refers to her initial inspiration, Cindy Crawford. In an interview with People before the ad went live, she expressed her enthusiasm for the message. “I’ve been a huge fan of Pepsi and their lifestyle that they’ve created and everything,” she said. “It’s really fun and it’s really awesome to be – it’s actually an honor to be following up some of the icons [who have previously modeled for Pepsi] – the amazing, just cool people that have done this before me and been a part of these commercials and everything. Yeah, it’s really exciting.”
Do you think Pepsi was right to pull the ad?