What Lena Dunham and Madonna Think About this Soda’s Tone-Deaf Ad

Oh, Pepsi. You messed up big time with your latest ad.

In case you haven’t seen it or just want to be infuriated again, Pepsi came out with an ad featuring Kendall Jenner. It also featured a vague protest, encouraging spectators to “Join the conversation.” (Whatever that is.) Kendall joins the rally, and somehow manages to end it by offering the riot police a can of soda. Peace on Earth, y’all!

Seriously though, what a tone-deaf way to vie for unity and peace. It was sugarcoated, and made protests look like a fun street party tailor-made for an Instagram post.

Pepsi was instantly criticized for putting out the ad and borrowing imagery from the Black Lives Matter protests, including Ieshia Evans’ widely-shared photo. People also accused Pepsi of trivializing the protests, as well as the struggles of the black community.

Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., said it best when she tweeted this photo of her dad amid the controversy.

Other sarcastic memes and tweets followed Bernice’s lead to call out how ridiculous it is to think that a can of Pepsi can stop police brutality.

Celebs like Lena Dunham, Madonna, and Stephen Colbert also expressed their disapproval of Pepsi’s move. Late Night host Seth Meyers also made an alternate, possibly more realistic ending to the commercial.

News outlets such as Fusion and The Washington Post also couldn’t handle the controversial ad, and straight-up tore it down.

Meanwhile, Pepsi realized that they “missed their mark” and decided to pull out the ad. They apologized to everyone affected, including Kendall. The model hasn’t said anything yet about the controversy. This also sparked a debate on whether Kendall should be complicit of her involvement.

Let this be a lesson for Pepsi and other brands to be mindful of what they put out. Remember: there are better ways to show unity and support for causes like Black Lives Matter—a sugarcoated protest is not one of them.


Screengrab from YouTube

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Jacqueline Arias: