April 5 Pepsi's new ad featuring Kendall Jenner
prompted Twitter users to howl outrage on Wednesday, with
civil-rights advocates saying it trivialized recent street
unrest across the United States.
The ad released late on Tuesday shows Jenner, a model and
reality TV star, in a photo shoot, when she notices a protest
march passing by her location. She joins the crowd as it nears a
line of police officers.
Jenner approaches one of the officers and hands him a can of
Pepsi, prompting the officer to smile while marchers cheer and
The spot drew immediate criticism on Twitter, for belittling
the street protests seen across the United States over the last
few years following police killings of unarmed black men and
While the ad does not make clear what the protest is
opposition to -- the only clues being peace signs and a
background song with the lyrics "we are the movement, this
generation" -- observers were quick to condemn it.
"If I had carried Pepsi, I guess I never would have gotten
arrested. Who knew?" activist DeRay McKesson, one of the
best-known voices of the Black Lives Matter movement, said on
Twitter. "Pepsi, this ad is trash."
"The Kendall Jenner Pepsi fiasco is a perfect example of
what happens when there's no black people in the room when
decisions are being made," added comedian and writer Trayvon
PepsiCo described the online and television ad it
called "Jump In" as the start of a new campaign.
"The 'Jump In' Pepsi Moments film takes a more progressive
approach to truly reflect today's generation and what living for
now looks like," Pepsi said in a statement posted online before
the controversy flared.
Pepsi officials did not immediately respond to a request for
comment on Wednesday.
The police in the ad were clad in black shirts and baseball
caps, a contrast to the heavily armored presences seen at
anti-police-violence protests in cities from Ferguson, Missouri,
Some online commentators called out the stark differences by
posting an image taken by Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman
in Baton Rouge last year showing a black women in a dress
standing passively as police armed in riot helmets and heavily
padded suits took her into custody.
(Reporting by Scott Malone, Editing by Franklin Paul)