5 Big Lessons For Brands From the Pepsi-Kendall Jenner Ad

CATEGORY: Social Media

So once again, the world has seen how a single tweet can start mayhem… against the trivialising of existing mayhem. Read on for some lessons Nigerian brands should take home from Pepsi’s ad flop.


#1. Twitter backlash is real… and deadly

When we wrote this, PEPSI was still sitting pretty on the Twitter trendsmap almost 24 hours after the incident. People are still trolling, hilarious memes are still being made and Pepsi execs are probably still shaking in their seats.The brand released a public statement, apologising for the misunderstanding, but the deed has already been done. Because of the big issue believed to be trivialised, that is, #BlackLivesMatter, this ad will probably go down in history as one of the worst brand advertising mistakes ever made.


#2. Even the smallest details can be used against you
in the Twitter court of law. I mean, viewers were observant enough to spot Kendall handing over her blonde wig to a black woman! The “Join the Conversation” placards also got a few WTHs on the social media space, and we’re still trying to wrap our heads around the Pepsi gift to the under-dressed cop. If this doesn’t tell you to plan your content and strategy right down to the i’s dots and t’s crosses, nothing else will.


#3. Make sure all interests are represented in your creative process

On Twitter, someone joked about the clear absence of a black person when the decision was made. While this may seem funny, it points out the importance of having people of diverse backgrounds and experiences included in the creative process. Why as a brand, it’s crucial that many cooks are in the kitchen, or at least at different stages, to churn out the epic jollof that will be your content or digital strategy. Get out there, see the world, speak to people and hear their thoughts on your chosen theme/topic. It will go a long way.


#4. Stay away from controversial issues?

If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen. The term “handle” in this sense could mean having the keen expertise needed to make a statement the right way. One wrong move, and you could have a lot of explaining to do. So it’s either you avoid the matter altogether or you leave it in the hands of a well-knowledgeable agency to pull off.


#5. Public perception of your spokesperson matters

The cherry on top the cake that was the flop is considerably the use of Kendall Jenner as a heroine in the ad’s story. For years, the Kardashian clan has been under scrutiny for trying hard to be black. We’ve seen black boyfriends come and go, as well as black hairstyles, black friends, amongst other things. So of course, when what appeared to be the White Saviour in a black protest was Kendall, all hell was let loose.


Any thoughts, guys? Share down below.


Written by
Ify Halim
Content Lead at Anakle

Image credit: TVLive