The Jury’s Out! Team Anakle Shares On The Pepsi-Kendall Ad

CATEGORY: Social Media

I wonder what it was like at PepsiCo. yesterday…

I imagined long hours of meeting and deliberations or a work-free day for the staff, where everyone just sat around reading comments on social media. I remembered an episode from a TV series I watched recently- Billions. A company was under fire for making profits from trading right after the 9/11 bombing. Members of staff showed up to work but stayed on their phones, some others just watched the protesters and even offered them lunch.

While all that may have been the situation at PepsiCo, the Anakle Team were in a different world of media advertising analysis. Opinions were flying all over like someone launched a drone in a small hall. But because all the opinions made sense, I decided to put some of them together and share with you.


What Efe thinks: So, is Pepsi telling us that giving a police officer a can of Pepsi would have stopped the abuse of African-Americans? Would it have kept Eric Ganner and Sandra Bland alive today? They try to portray a serious problem, a matter of life and death in the world today as ordinary, where mobs protest peacefully with music and dancing. There is a supermodel somewhere joining the movement. That ad is bullshit. The directive was a total waste and brands should never emulate that.

What they should have done differently: They should have changed the entire directive.


What Samantha thinks: I think the issue most African Americans had with the ad is that Pepsi is trivialising such an important issue that affects black Americans, and to add “insult to injury”, they used Kendall Jenner whose family is notorious for exploiting black culture for monetary gains; and Kendall has never even protested in favour of BLM. The Kardashian-Jenner clan are famous for dabbling in things that are associated with black culture. For example, Kylie Jenner and her obsessive need to be a light skin black girl, altering her appearance and then being given the opportunity (read white privilege) to sell merchandise based off this etc. “kylie hair extensions, kylie lip kit and plumper”

What should have been done differently: I think they should have avoided the protest story line altogether, seeing as they are not loud supporters of any of the current movements. So, using it definitely did come across as exploitative. Then the model, they could have easily used Zendaya, Amandla or that girl from Girl Meets World. All very vocal, social, justice figures. They would still get backlash but not as much as they did using Kendall.


What Chioma thinks: The ad commercialises a very sensitive issue; the focus should be about bringing a new perspective to the issue not trivialising it.

What should have been done differently: In my opinion if they had brought a different perspective to the issue. Maybe pick a single issue (say police brutality) instead of mixing up the entire problem in one single ad. They could have treated it in series like Dove did! Dove ad was on beauty and body shaming. It had different series on same issues.


What Ayo thinks: I think it’s a pity that they are recalling the ad because I didn’t see anything wrong with it but I think it also goes to show the power of the social media now. Black people whose opinions wouldn’t have mattered a few years ago have now forced a huge brand like Pepsi to recall their ad. Deep!

What should have been done differently: I don’t think there’s anything they should have done differently.


What Ashley thinks: They’ve recalled it already. I watched the ad and got the message of unity and peace. There were black people, Muslims, trans etc. represented. It was a “let’s just get along” ad. After watching it again last night and reading reviews, I get the backlash. I respect the opinions of others, however, I still don’t necessarily agree with it. I also feel that having a Kardashian in that ad added fuel to the fire because some comments were super hateful and spiteful.

What should have been done differently: Take the Kardashian out and replace with a black man/woman…and put powerful messages on the placards that the protesters were holding.


What Emmanuel thinks: I don’t know what the brand intended to communicate but I’m sure they wanted to jump in on the #BLM trend. That obviously hasn’t worked for them.

What should have been done differently: The ad probably would’ve worked better if they used someone like Cookie from Empire.


What Ify thinks: It just goes to show that brands/agencies need to be more sensitive to people’s sentiments and the issues on ground in their creative process. And two, brands’ intentions can totally get lost in translation if strategies aren’t implemented properly. Pepsi claims the video was an attempt to project a message of global peace and unity. However, very few people saw that, despite the crazy budget that probably went into producing and promoting the ad. Quite unfortunate if you ask me.

What should have been done differently: Seun, Bisola and I were discussing what a different and the more digestible plot could have been yesterday… perhaps subtle product placements in the homes/ routes of those preparing to go for the protest since they seem to want to leverage on the messaging of Pepsi being revolutionary. There were also some cringeworthy errors made in the story… why is Kendall handing her wig to a black person, for example? Things like that should never have made their way into the script.



There are many opinions on what the ad was trying to do, what it did, and what it should have done. I’m particularly interested in your own opinion, so leave a comment telling me what you think of the ad, and here’s a link if you haven’t already seen it.




Written by
Ifeoma Jukpor
Content Associate at Anakle