I, like the majority of the internet was truly offended by Pepsi's hollow ad that hit the world earlier this week.
The first questions that went on in mind was, what was Pepsi thinking, who on earth thought this was a good idea? Then, how much money was wasted for creating an advert that was ironically trying to convey a message that was anything but about peace and unity. For a global brand, its totally irresponsible. Kudos to Pepsi for holding their hands up and saying they missed the mark. Way off.
Today corporate brands have a responsibility to it's people, just as much as government's do. Especially when they leverage global superstars to connect with younger audiences and stay relevant in a competitive marketplace.
Just as those on a global stage use the internet as a platform to create noise and confusion, there is an important lesson to learn that underneath the vacuum the crowd can be heard and make a change against creative corporate teams who are not as in touch with their customers as they think they are. The dreaded echo chamber effect. There needs to be objectivity and more insight.
Authenticity, as much of a buzzword it is in the corporate world, is still the most powerful tool when it comes to engaging with people - I would like to think that someone as influential as Kendall Jenner would think twice next time she is offered to be a brand ambassador. Or at least pay someone smart enough to advise her to reconsider...
If Pepsi really wanted to help, the money could have be invested in education programmes or show the world how their profits fund their corporate social responsibility programmes. Real stories.
In a world that is already full of young girls aspiring to be Elsa from Frozen, its feels quite disheartening to see that brands such as Pepsi can't yield their influence to ignite action in more authentic way. Having diverse teams to question an idea is vital to ensure that thought can flourish into something that creates impactful change - hopefully the next ad at SuperBowl will come up Top Trumps and prove me wrong.
PepsiCo Inc.’s latest commercial, slammed on social media for a tone-deaf exploitation of the Black Lives Matter movement, has become a cautionary tale about relying on an in-house advertising team. The spot, which features Kendall Jenner offering a Pepsi to a police officer in the middle of a street protest, was handled by the company’s Creators League Studio division. That team was launched in 2014 and given state-of-the-art studio space in Manhattan last year, allowing the beverage giant more flexibility and control over its message.