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Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad 4/6/2017

Emily Langlois


Begin with a grabber (a provocative statistic, question or statement; or a short anecdote) to gain audience interest and then identify the main event/issue covered.

  • I’m sure we are all aware of who the Kardashians are – and we aren’t exactly used to associating their names with social justice. A Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner that was recently released shows that this is probably for the better: just yesterday they pulled the commercial and apologized after it received backlash for trivializing black lives matter protests.
  • In the ad, Kendall Jenner’s photoshoot is interrupted by an inviting glance from a protester passerby. She then proceeds to save the day by dramatically taking of her guise and handing a police officer a Pepsi. As the crowd cheers and her picture is taken, the police officer exchanges a whimsical glance to his partner. The whole thing is very confusing.

Relate the article to the course, and explain why the event/issue is worthy of discussion.

  • Pepsi’s decisions to both participate in the social justice conversation and retract after doing it poorly speak to their ethics and corporate social responsibility.
  • It addresses the issue of corporations’ place in getting involved with social justice issues – although many corporations (including Pepsi) have made political statements in the past, this is one of the first times that a company has addressed protests – especially regarding their presence in today’s political climate
  • Pepsi also apologized to Kendall Jenner in their statement.

Provide the citation (source and date) early in the presentation.

  • “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize” -Company statement
  • “The ad plays down the sacrifices people have historically taken in utilizing protests” -Elle Hearns, former organizer for Black Lives matter

Give your opinion on the issue.

  • Pepsi learned their lesson and this introduces a line in the case of tying brands to social causes. They made the right decision to hold the ad and stop construction, Kendall Jenner holds stake in responsibility.

Encourage class discussion of the article.

  • Do you believe that Pepsi made the right choice in immediately pulling the ad?
  • What amount of responsibility does Kendall Jenner hold in regards to the situation?
  • How will this affect the relationship between corporations and involvement in social issues moving forward?
    • Where is the line?




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