The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Pepsi Ad for Equality Falls Flat

Kendall Jenner takes heat, Twitter responds
Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.s daughter tweets her reaction to Pepsi ad.
Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter tweets her reaction to Pepsi ad.

On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, Pepsi released a two-minute and forty second ad starring Kendall Jenner as the spokesperson.  Kendall Jenner was bubbling with joy for the debut of her new ad with Pepsi. Jenner’s joy quickly fizzled out once social media gave her and Pepsi a piece of its mind.

Within the the ad, Jenner is modeling for a photo shoot while a protest is going on. Jenner sees an Asian male nod his head at her, signaling her to join the demonstration. Kendall removes her wig, wipes off her lipstick, leaves the photo shoot and proceeds to march with the demonstrators.

While protesting, Jenner comes face-to-face with a police officer and offers him a can of Pepsi. The officer accepts the can of soda, takes a sip, and they all live happily ever after, in thirst-quenching harmony.  

The message was clear to viewers that all of their protesting is a waste because all they need to do in order to resolve their conflict with law enforcement is to hand an officer a can of soda. How refreshing.

“It’s  poor execution especially on such a sensitive and controversial topic,” Angie Dumas, freshman, said. “People protest and some people lose their lives for things like this.”

According to, “Within 48 hours the video got nearly 1.6 million views on YouTube (five times as many down votes as up votes), and Twitter and Facebook lit up with people pointing out just how gauche the whole thing was.”

Social activists and political pundits weighed in on social media.  Bernice King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter shared a tweet (seen on the left).

This is not the first time brands have advertised for equality and diversity. Nike has created a commercial including LeBron James, Serena Williams, and other athletes in the ad to show equality. Coca Cola, Pepsi’s competition even re-released their ad from 2014 called “America The Beautiful” during Super Bowl 2017. Even though the commercial was not new, it felt new and needed. The commercial made a positive statement. So why did Pepsi miss the mark?

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About the Contributor
Amber Borden, Social Media Manager
Amber is a senior involved in the Torch and WSJU Radio with her show "The Amber Alert." Part of the Torch since her freshman year, Amber served a semester as Assitant Features Editor, and she is now the Social Media Manager. During her last year of school she will also take on the role of President of SJU's Black Student Union. Amber plans to push herself as a writer this year, and help effectively inform the Torch's audience as well as empower them. You can reach Amber at [email protected].

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