Unless you’ve been sleeping…in the library…without a smart phone (none of which is remotely likely), you’ve probably heard about the failed Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner.
Moving from “fake” (modelling in a blond wig) to “meaningful” (joining in a protest), Jenner’s transformation–her own, the crowd’s and, most importantly, law enforcement’s–is enabled by the magic of Pepsi.
Confused? So were the in-house creative team that conceived of this campaign.
Industry executive Benjamin Blank, quoted in an article in Advertising Week, explains:
“I understand what they were trying to do: They had data that probably said 75% of millennials consider themselves activists, or whatever that data piece was, so we are going to embrace the idea of activism,” [But Pepsi misfired by taking a] “very broad-stroke approach as opposed to standing for something. It’s like standing for love or happiness, that’s not really a stance.”
If Kendall Jenner actually did something that was meaningful and they documented that and supported that, that would probably be something that would make more sense for the brand as opposed to paying her whatever they paid her to appear in a scripted piece of content that was not based in any true meaning.”
Adding insult to injury, Martin Luther King’s daughter noted that the ad was released on the 49th anniversary of her father’s assassination.
The result? The ad was pulled, Pepsi was mocked, and everyone’s talking about it. What’s your assessment: Win? Fail?