Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I wonder whether, when they all looked at the rough-cut, someone said (or even thought): “This is going to be a disaster.”
Yet so it’s proved.
Should you have somehow missed the debacle of Pepsi’s new ad, in which Kendall Jenner eradicates oppression by giving a police officer a Pepsi — in a can, not even a bottle — you’ve missed so much.
Pepsi has now bowed to Twittering contempt and declared that it made a mistake.
The company offered this statement: “Pepsi was trying to project a global 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 removing the content and halting any further rollout.”
That global message of unity, peace, and understanding came across as “Millennials great, Pepsi even greater, police bad, give police a Pepsi and police be good. Then Millennials and Pepsi rule the world.”
There was one last line in the statement, however: “We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
Pepsi is speaking of Kendall Jenner, part of a family that has brilliantly promoted itself and become famous for, well, brilliantly promoting itself.
The Jenner-Kardashian clan would surely no sooner be put in a position than appear on The Price Is Right.
The Jenner-Kardashian clan fancies itself as excellent at marketing — and with good reason.
Might anyone believe that the script wasn’t vetted, pored over, critiqued, and approved by the Jenner-Kardashian sorority and its wily managers?
Might many suspect that Jenner was paid a hearty amount for her participation?
Both Pepsi and the Jenner team surely went into this cataclysm with their eyes open and their eyelashes perfectly groomed.
There is surely at least some shared responsibility here. Famous figures tend not to just turn up and do and say whatever marketers ask.
Still, even the ad world looks like it’s taking some responsibility. It’s wondering whether it’s worth being in the ad world.
If you’d like some entertainment, please enjoy this sackcloth-and-ashes Reddit thread about the ad.
One creative director, Thisisnotariot, mused: “I love the trend towards meaningful marketing but this colors a lot of what I had previously considered ‘good’ work with a cynicism that makes me feel grimy.”
Was it only Pepsi’s cynicism here?
It’s baffling that some sense of politics drove Pepsi to apologize to Jenner.
The statement only makes her (and her entourage) seem like people who just do what they’re told, as long as they’re being paid.
Equally, it makes the Pepsi brand feel like it’s actually smaller — and somehow more guilty here — than the Jenner-Kardashian brand.
Somewhere in Hollywood, the Jenners are likely strategizing on the best thing to do next.
Somewhere in Georgia, Coke executives are having a giggle.