Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Commercial: the Untold Story

A peek inside the boardroom when Pepsi’s creative team came up with the idea that started it all…

Kendall Jenner Pepsi Man Repeller

Ad man in suit #1: Okay guys, it’s about time to get started. Grab your sandwiches and Cokes and find your seats. Today we’re brainstorming our Kendall Jenner Spring ’17 campaign. Remember there are no bad ideas. Truly. Everything is a good idea.

Woman: Well, Kendall is passionate about photography. What if we showed her getting behind the lens and giving the spotlight to women she admi-

Ad man #2: Resistance.

Room explodes in cheers.

Woman: Sorry what?

Ad man #2: Millennials love resistance.

Ad man #1: Yes, resistance. (Man tips glasses down and peers at his list of keywords pulled from Millennial OpEds.) And expressing themselves authentically.

Ad man #3: Yes! Love it.

Woman: I’m sorry, can you be more specific?

Ad man #2: Imagine a protest. (Man takes sip of Coke Zero) People laughing, screen full of protest joy. Posters in beautiful Pepsi blue. City kids dancing and stuff.

Ad man #4: (Looks up from Post-it note left on his notebook from last meeting) Diversity.

Ad man #1: What?

Ad man #4: I’m not sure. This Post-it just says “diversity.”

Ad man #1: We’ll just put that on the casting call sheet, it will be fine.

Woman: Are you worried about commodifying something like the act protest? And, I don’t know, systemic oppression? I’m no expert but…I don’t know, just a thought.

Ad man #2: A cold open of a man playing a cello on a roof, an American city in the background.

The men in the room get chills.

Cut to him playing his cello in a room. The protest will be happening on the street. He’ll stop playing, take a sip of Pepsi and then join the march, where he’ll see Kendall Jenner looking super sexy and they’ll fall in love.

Ad man #1: Hmmm, I like where this is going. How can we fit in more diverse millennials expressing themselves…(looks down at list again)…with no filter?

Room falls silent for several minutes.

Ad man #2: A photographer. In hijab.

Room erupts in a standing ovation. Ad man #2 stands on table and shotguns a Coke.

It’s her passion. But she just can’t get her shot. So she joins the protest for inspiration, where she sees a very photogenic and beautiful Kendall Jenner, marching her activist little heart out. In a thong? Or is that too much? Woman?

Woman: I’m so sorry — what is this protest about exactly?

Ad man #3: Yes! And she should be blonde!

Ad man #1: Her contract stipulates that we not touch her hair.

Everyone around the table looks sad. They love blondes.

Ad man #2. A wig. That she’s wearing for a photoshoot happening nearby because she’s a model. She sexily tears it off before joining the protest.

Ad man #3: That’s it! And lipstick that she wipes off, all dramatic. And maybe a dress that she takes off?

There is cheering and high-fiving as they imagine it.

Woman: Taking lipstick off actually takes like, a full minute and it’s pretty messy…and wigs don’t really-

Ad man #1: (Looking at requirement sheet) We need more people drinking Pepsi in this spot or we’re gonna get in trouble again.

Ad man #2: An ice bucket. At the protest. I think I have a spare one at home from a barbecue last weekend.

Ad man #5: Can we have protest spectators sitting at nice restaurants drinking Pepsi?

Woman: Sorry. What’s a “protest spectator?”

Ad man #1: The other thing is blue. We need everything to be the same shade of blue. Don’t ask, it’s subliminal.

Ad man #2: Beautiful. So we have a cello player, a photographer and a model joining a fun and passionate protest.

Woman: Again — a protest about what, exactly?

Ad man #1: About joining the conversation! And Pepsi.

Ad man #2: This is literally almost perfect. I just can’t help but feel like we should somehow loop in the whole police brutality thing.

Woman: The “whole police brutality thing?”

Ad man #3: You’re so right. That’s such a thing, huh? When it comes to protests and stuff?

Man of color #1: I don’t know. Don’t want to overstep here, but maybe we steer clear of this. Unless we want to genuinely give a platform to one of the organizations tackling this…

Ad man #2: Kendall hands a cop a Pepsi. He cracks it, takes a sip….and smiles. The entire march celebrates.

Ad man #3: And that’s when the Muslim photographer gets her shot!!!!

One man starts to clap, then a few more. Slowly it builds until all the men in the room are clapping and crying vigorously. In a rare show of emotion, they begin hugging each other in congratulations.

Ad man #1: I think our work here is done.

Six months later…

Photos by Victor Virgile and Lambert via Getty Images; Collage by Edith Young.

Get more Humor ?
  • Holly Laine Mascaro


    • Holly Laine Mascaro

      And terrifying.

      • DarthVadersCats

        ^ sums up how I feel

    • thanks for sharing!

  • Imaiya Ravichandran


  • Sofía Subercaseaux


  • Haley, hands down one of my favorite things you’ve written for MR. 👏👏👏

  • Hartwig

    Ugh. Thanks for making something disgusting and pitiful into something we can laugh at! 😡

  • Avanti Dalal

    i’m dead

  • Ooooo gotta love that pseudo-activism way 2 go Kendall! (and uh, fuck you, Pepsi)

  • Teresa

    I see the “woman” has not applied her “Just Not Sorry” chrome extension to the real life boardroom.

  • Kaylan Waterman

    Thank you for covering such blatant appropriation. I only just watched the commercial today and am still REELING at this visual proof that protesting DEATH and injustice can now be re-“branded”, yes branded, into an insultingly obvious sugary fizz campaign.

    • Kaylan Waterman

      Also Jenner. JENNER -_-.

    • Mellisa Scarlett

      “BRANDED” sigh…I guess nothing is off limits.

    • Anita

      It’s so gross, I sat here with my mouth hanging open. =(

    • pdbraide


    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      Ughhh I absolutely hated this commercial. It’s “Kardashianism” in its worst form. Taking the “any attention at any cost” business model to a new low, by exploiting some of our society’s worst problems, like institutionalized racism, and police brutality.

  • DarthVadersCats

    I HAVE BEEN LAUGH CRYING MY HEART OUT AT THE RESPONSES TO THIS DARNED AD and I love that this skates the line between ‘poking humour at this clearly hilariously bad situation’ and ‘IS QUITE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS SERIOUSLY BAD ADVERTISEMENT’.
    Also I feel like the ad would be much better (oh but needs more tweaks to be good) if a woc star stARTED THE PROTEST OR SOMETHING

  • Sheri Barclay

    I dunno maybe don’t grab a Coke so fast. And listen to http://www.KPISS.FM <- 'Human waste' found in Coca-Cola cans at Ireland Coke factory.

  • I would not be surprised if this is how a Coke marketing meeting goes.

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

  • Bec

    The ad men probably also mansplained what a protest is to the woman at some point.

  • I’m sorry, what?! Kendall Jenners blatant participation in promoting white feminism/false activism is pretty bad, but so is this article. This article REEKS of white feminism. The opposition to this ad is the appropriation of black culture (because protests involving police have become part of black culture) and subsidizing the fight against police brutality towards people of color. It’s safe to say, then, that this commercial’s problem is with race. So why did this article pose the “voice of reason” as a woman? As if somehow in a board room the presence of a woman would have been the deterring factor; as if women (namely white women) are particular vocal about exploiting black culture. This “woman” Haley so graciously put as the sole voice of he black community in this hypothetical board room is ill placed at best and a display of complete ignorance of the lack of intersectionality (especially when it comes to feminism) at worst. Haley, all you did was switch out the white savior for the “woman savior” (a term I just made up to describe my point but I think it’s apt) and honestly it feels almost as bad as the commercial itself.

    • LaurenEF

      I understand where you are coming from, but there have been a lot of protests in the past year and many of the high profile protests were related to issues outside of the Black Lives Matter movement. And I’m not saying this isn’t a white feminism issue, because it is, I just think it goes further than this one blog post. Would brands be trying to commoditize protests right now if it weren’t for all the rich white women (with large Instagram followings) who marched on Washington in January?
      In this confusing garbage commercial, Pepsi is trying to capitalize on all of them, reducing them down to one palatable “resistance” cliche. So yes, Haley could have focused in more on the appropriation of black culture at play here, but I think she just used “woman” as a more general device to poke fun at the overarching appropriation happening throughout the entire commercial. Also the “woman” isn’t really a savior here is she? She’s got a seat at the table and is complicit in the creation of this commercial .

      • I’m not sure what you mean by “many of the high profile protests” but my comment specifically mentioned protests in the presence of police which is uniquely tied to black people and racism right now. I agree with your statement that the Women’s March probably lead to this however that’s part of the issue. They decided it was “cool” to use protests when women were the protestors but decided the protest they would emulate would be a BLM one which is both weird and problematic because the two types of protests are/were completely different. I also agree with your last statement that she used “woman” to poke fun but again, that’s the issue. Honestly this would’ve been hilarious to me if she used a woman of color for this plot device. Using the nondescript “woman” ignores the problems between feminism-racism crossover that’s been going on.
        Your last sentence is spot on though and I definitely didn’t even consider that so 👌🏾 kudos to that subliminal message I totally missed, Haley.

        • Celtfu

          By “uniquely” I assume you are referring to the USA.

          • Yes.

          • Celtfu

            Thanks for the clarification on both counts. I usually read uniquely to mean solely, as they come from the same root word, but I accept current usage is more relative.

    • Sheila

      I agree. This article should’ve been about race relations, police brutality, and the exploitation of the black community/experience. This article missed the point and is almost as offensive as the Pepsi ad itself.

    • Bo

      I feel this all too. And for what it’s worth, if you look at the credits most of the people involved in the making of the ad were actually women! I don’t like this tone that we women are the sole voice of reason in a world of unreasonable men. It’s not true and it’s more divisive than cooperative. And, more importantly, you’re completely right when you say it interrupts and co-opts the conversation about race into a white feminist plaything. I’m surprised MR didn’t Roundtable this article idea to include a few more perspectives or try get some feedback from the groups the ad actually tries to exploit.

    • Subrina Ejoke

      Somebody pass her the mic for those in the back 👏🏾👏🏾 You just said exactly what all wow feel. This isn’t just a feminism issue this is a racism issue specifically targeted at black people.

    • snakehissken

      You know, seeing as almost half of millennials are POC… I really wish we could finally move on from “woman” or “man” = “white.” It’s just as likely in our generation that the person isn’t white.

      • Tanisha

        It isn’t unfair to assume “woman” is white because the “ad man of color” is noted as such. surely, if the “woman” in this article were of color it would have been noted as well.

        • snakehissken

          I think it depends. The man of color is noted as such because he’s being separated from all the other men in the room. For all we know, he could have said some of the other clueless things before that, but he wasn’t being singled out at the time.

          This is fiction, so we can really picture it any way that we want.

      • Though I disagree with you that this “woman” is just as likely to be no white as white, especially in the context of a boardroom/having such influence. However, this “woman” has no other identification other than being a woman. This IS a story of fiction just as another commentor said so she exists solely as a “woman” and that’s the problem. In the context of this meeting, the voice of reason’s sole feature (if she were to still give it just one feature) should be regarding its race since the ad’s problem is a racism one. Even if she could have been a black woman, why was it more important to distinguish her gender than her race when her dissatisfaction was about race relations?

      • LouLNL

        I think it’s fair to note that although almost half of millennials are POC, that is not represented in the ad industry, especially the board room.

    • Nia

      THANK TOU SO MUCH !!!!!!! Black women were completely left out of the conversation in this piece. There was the character of “Man of Color,” who only had one line. But a “women” drove all the opposition in this piece prior to the men of color who had one line. BLACK WOMEN HAVE DRIVEN OPPOSITION FOR DECADES IN THIS COUNTRY. Opposition is in their blood stream – it is all they know. i find it troubling that they were given no voice in this piece. I see the humor in it, but this is just white feminist CRAP. A better future, a more diverse future is not one by ONE women saying what is happening is wrong. It it won with a shift of values, with more that ONE women saying this is wrong, with MORE women of color given a seat at the table, and MORE over all diversity. Thanks for another White Feminist FAIL. #taylorswiftfeminim

  • James Payne

    Pepsi’s CEO is a woman, the agency that produced the ad, Creators League Studio, is in-house, and in this article discussing it, it is explained by Pepsi’s SVP of Global Brand Development, a woman, and the only people pictured in the profile of the agency are women, and Kendall Jenner is also a woman. If you look up Creators League Studio on LinkedIn you can see their Director of Strategy and Head of Production are both women. Isn’t the real issue about the ad, as other commentors have pointed out, the easy elision of police brutality against POC? And why are white women, who voted in a plurality for Trump, positioned as being solely aware of this and other problems in the ad?

    • lazyjournalist

      You are dead right. I’ve got no problem with blaming the ad men out there when it’s due, but this was mostly spearheaded by women. And a man who spends most of his time on a twitter feed talking about diversity and women’s rights:

      • How does anyone know this was “spearheaded” by women? Executives don’t create ads. They barely even see them. That’s not how ad agencies work.

        • lazyjournalist

          Creators League is an internal agency for Pepsi. That agency is overseen (prinmarily) by women. And other executives above them are also women, including the CEO.
          Please look at the research before comnmenting.

          • Ryan Hebert

            ‘Please look at the research before comnmenting.’
            -you clearly dont understand how the internet works

        • You’re joking right?

      • PeachBeach

        I agree with you on this. I think the article is tackling and mocking the ad industry, which is traditionally very masculine, hence the author used cliched men as the “creators” of the advert, but it doesn’t seem quite the right approach in this context. The author (Hayley) makes quite a thoughtful comment below and seems open to constructive criticism so I wouldn’t want to have a go st her, though.

        • Marcus Chan

          Actually, there’s a huge shift in the ad industry when it comes to the demographics – I work in an agency and know of many agencies where it’s dominated by women.

    • Bo

      I don’t get why the article took that tone either – it was unnecessary when there so much else fundamentally wrong with the ad that needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. It felt like MR was just forcing that narrative onto this story. If they were all just called “ad executive” instead of man or woman this piece would have been a hole in one.

      • Completely agree. Oh look a female is clearly the hero here, because we all know women don’t have bad ideas right… (rolls eyes)

        • Anita

          Someone got rejected one or a hundred too many times.

          • Thoughtful retort.

          • b.e.g.

            I know eh?! They get nasty, these women.

          • juen teu

            You wanna see nasty try posting an opinion on any topic as a women…so, yeah. You have a ways to go before you can complain about women voicing objections. ESPecially when it is satire.

          • b.e.g.

            I have no idea what you are saying with this comment at me. I was referring to the woman above (Anita) who made a personal attack on a male commenter, Vladimir. I see this often on MR, women hurl insults at men, or attacks on their manhood (as above). Inappropriate and immature.

          • If you’re seek legitimate online making money venture but yet fed up with internet gimmicks in that case this is actually what you were searching for. I’am working on this work 2 yrs now and Now I am making Seven Thousand dollars or even more each and every month without difficulty. Start making funds just like me… Take a look at the details >>>>>>>>>>>

          • b.e.g.

            You lost all credibility with this personal attack on a male commenter. Inappropriate and immature.

    • Orandine

      yes!! That was my exact problem while reading this. The biggest problem with the ad is Kendall in her class privilege, and whiteness, sauntering into a riot, like its ever mattered to her.
      This article doesn’t sit right – primarily because the problem with the ad isnt that it needed a woman to have made it, but that its totally tone deaf of RACIAL politics today.
      MR, when describing a serious issue with hilarity – in itself a tricky task – please make sure to not come off as as racially tone deaf as the ad you’re making fun of was.

      • b.e.g.

        Clearly the ad was stupid. But it was NOT a riot. It was a peaceful demonstration. Watch it again. Read the posters. Everyone was dancing and singing. Come together, love, peace, understanding. There is always police presence at every demonstration in case of trouble.

    • Waiting for a comment from Haley…

      • Haley Nahman


        I wasn’t sure if people were interested in hearing from me since oftentimes intention doesn’t really matter where these things are concerned. But I certainly hear you all re: these criticisms! It’s something I would have thought more about if I could do it over again.

        The truth is, I saw a really really dumb ad spot from a huge corporation, fantasized about an absurd Mad Men-style boardroom full of old, out of touch white business dudes trying to appeal to millennials, and ran with it. It’s a familiar narrative trope and it was never meant to be applied so specifically. But now that it has been, I totally see what people mean.

        I wanted to make people laugh and poke the corporate beast that had the gall to be so insensitive towards such important causes. My last hope would be to contribute in any way to that insensitivity. I’m sorry for any way that I did.

        Thanks for all the thoughtful dialogue, I’m not ignoring it. Just listening/learning.

        • *applaud emoji* I appreciate this because you are a GREAT writer and I’ve honestly enjoyed MR so much more since you’ve been contributing. I honestly felt that this piece was more of an ignorant perspective on the ad not the perspective of an ignorant person (if that makes sense…?). I must admit that this article would have been hilarious to me if “woman” was substituted for “WOC” or any trope of the token black person so the concept was indeed funny. But the shift from a race issue to a seemingly feminist issue overshadows any potential humor because I don’t believe in allowing ignorance/racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia etc. exist just for the sake of a laugh, simple as that.

          • Haley Nahman

            Totally makes sense and point very much taken!

        • This is actually perfect and you need not apologize for one word of it.

        • snakehissken

          Haley, Leandra, everyone over there…

          Can you guys look into moving off Disqus? We have trollish mooks show up all the time now. I don’t mind when people within our community have disagreements because we always discuss things respectfully, but these drive-by commenters are usually rude, dismissive, and interrupt the intelligent conversations that people are having. I appreciate thoughtful dialogue… but a lot of these comments aren’t.

          It’s very frustrating as someone who loves our treehouse where people listen to each other even when they disagree.

        • Anna

          I think satire often misses the target. Malcom Gladwell did an interesting podcast about it in his revisionist history series. People are wilfully misinterpreting your piece because they’re so angry about stuff that is well worth being angry about.

          Here is an interesting podcast about what happens
          when someone makes a bad joke and the bad joke becomes the subject of online vitriol. In fact, we are all capable of making a bad joke from time to time. It’s called ‘human’.

        • joshrachlis

          That’ll teach you for trying to write something funny! 😉
          Hey commenters… It’s pretty easy to take things literally and rip apart a comedic column. I’d like to see any of the commenters try to write a long-form comedic piece.

          I’ve written comedic columns for Strategy Magazine, and it’s hard. I’ve written a comedic feature screenplay, and that was hard. I’ve also been a copywriter at Canada’s top ad agency for many years, and I can tell you that writing commercials is hard. I can also tell you that most of my bosses and creative partners were women of colour. And I laughed out loud at your column. It was indeed funny to picture a woman questioning the bone-head men. It didn’t occur to me to dissect it and take it personally as a man, or to point out that most of the creative directors, brand managers and commercial directors I know are women.

          We should team up for some YouTube videos critiquing ads, Haley!

        • Danielle Cardona Graff

          I totally got what you were doing, and really enjoyed reading it! Very few people ever touch on the most obvious aspects of “Kardashianism” which is this blatant “any attention is good attention,” “all the attention at any cost,” business model for success. The way you played out how they created the commercial, (by exploiting some of our society’s most serious problems) and plotted Kendal’s “SS 17 campaign,” spoke of this (to me) immediately, regardless of if the characters were male or female.

    • Junglesiren

      Damn, dude, you took the actual time to lay it out…. nail hit firmly on the head. Bravo!

    • Marcus Chan

      Totally hit the nail on the head.

    • Regina Aletto

      “Credits on the Kendall Jenner ad include Pete Kasko as creative director, Michael Bernard as director, and film production by Picture Farm. The studio is overseen by Brad Jakeman, president of PepsiCo’s global beverage group; and Kristin Patrick, senior VP-global brand development.”

  • Joanie Ferguson

    THANK YOU for this.

  • Bria

    *Chef’s kiss*

  • I can just imagine that this is EXACTLY how it went.

  • Brittany Marino

    haley was a fly on the wall at that boardroom

  • Marie-Eve

    This is GOLD! I’ve been sending this link to everyone I know + posting it in comments sections ALL DAY! You really nailed the #WomanInAMeeting tone.

  • Gretel Stroh

    OMG You nailed it gurl!

  • This. Is. Hilarious.

  • tmm16

    Update: Ad was pulled from Pepsi.

    “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.”


    • Kaylan Waterman

      so strange, so confusing. but I am here for the pull!

    • b.e.g.

      Thanks for the update. I mean, who are these stupid stupid stupid people who spent who knows how much money on this production only to pull it?? How could they not see how wrong it was in so many ways? Incredible.

    • I get the impression that Pepsi is still smarting from Coke’s “I’d like to teach the world to sing” ad, convinced they could sell more diabetes if they only had a global message that stuck.
      It is advertising, after all, and even if the pronouns in the article were female, it would continue to be a pretty accurate depiction of the same stupid thinking. I only made it 30 seconds; did Jenner bring the brown people together in peace and harmony? I’m too disgusted to finish it.

      • Anita

        You really have to see it for yourself to appreciate fully the ickiness, but yeah – Jenner hands a cop a can of Pepsi and everyone cheers and the world is saved.

        • b.e.g.

          Yeah, that was the worst part of it. everyone cheering at the end, ugh!

  • b.e.g.

    Haley, good job poking fun at a ridiculous ad. Reading some of the flack below, you can’t cover all the angles, so don’t even try. Just know that no matter what, no matter how hard you try to be politically correct (or all inclusive), you are going to displease someone. Most of the time the usual suspects. They manage to turn everything, even something written as ridicule into a sting against their race. James Payne below made an interesting point. I know I’ll catch shit for this from “the community,” but I couldn’t care less, they sour everything when they drop the race card at every turn.

    • LouLNL

      So, James Payne’s comment is “an interesting point” but any one else who suggests that “the real issue about the ad…[is] the easy elision of police brutality against POC” is considered one of the “usual suspects”, “drop[ping] the race card”?! I don’t expect that every angle be covered, however, I do expect the obvious to…

      – The “They” Community

      • Lebanese Blonde

        I could not agree more.

    • Pulling the race card?? That’s like saying to someone “stop making racism about race!”… at least to me. In today’s time, protests in the presence of police are tied with racism and black culture so do you mind explaining your comment’s viewpoint?

      I believe you called out mine and other commenters for wanting “every perspective” but I must say I just want one — the correct one, because I believe the feminist perspective does not exist in this case. Also, I don’t believe telling this from a race perspective is “politically correct” but rather factually correct (because of my statement above about protests w/police + black culture being tied together) do I’m not sure where your comment is coming from. You don’t have a write a dissertation or anything but I really don’t see how or why you have a problem with the point I and some others made…

    • Orandine

      Jesus … when you’re using phrases like “pulling the race card” you know you’re a racist. FYI People of color don’t get some joy out of feeling constantly offended by the world they live in – and since when did commenting on an article and pointing out when you disagree become such a problem? This is MR, the whole point of this community is to empower ALL NYC women. If an article leaves certain communities feeling invalidated, as this one did, it’s alright to call it out…that’s literally the point of a comment section

      • b.e.g.

        1. This community is not just NYC women just because L and crew live there, they are cross country. And it’s not just women either.
        2. I AM A WOMAN OF COLOUR. But I don’t go around playing the victim at every turn.
        3. Every time there is any whisper of feminism or racism out they all come all enraged.
        4. I have lived on this planet for more than 5 decades; in 5 countries, 12 cities all over the world. The feminist and racist issues I’ve witnessed would quiet the lot of you.

        • Anita

          Playing the age card is what’s pathetic. Big fucking whoop – I’ve been around for five decades myself and all I see is we’re still a racist and anti-feminist country after all this time.

        • 1) I am neither enraged or playing the victim.
          2) racism is not relative, therefore the racism and sexism you’ve seen does not invalidate the racism and sexism in this country.
          3) YOU ARE PREACHING TO THE CHOIR. To insinuate that I somehow do not understand the racism and sexism in other countries is probably the one thing that could possibly enrage me because…
          4) My issue was with the lack of intersectionality which directly relates to understanding and fighting against the racism and sexism in all parts of the world.
          6) also, I’m first generation American so yes not only have I “seen” some of what you’ve seen; my OWN culture is embedded in what you have “seen”.

          so no, I still don’t see how your original comment is valid

          • b.e.g.

            I guess I am preaching to the choir. But, I get upset when every little thing is blown out of proportion. A young writer writes a humourous piece on an obviously stupid advertisement, some folks saying it was a riot in the ad, depicting (potential?) police violence against blacks, etc. It was NOT a riot. It was supposed to be a love, peace, understanding march. Yes, the Pepsi people were exploiting the movement, but the women here started talking about white women of privilege, feminism, and so on. Blown out of proportion.

          • I think it feels blown out of proportions because multiple people are saying the same thing. You’re looking at this as if we all huddled together, got angry, and decided to post a bunch of comments. We all read the article, had the same pretty simple thought (Why is this NOT about racism?) and then commented. If asking that simple question is blowing it out of proportion then I don’t know what is acceptable other than staying silent all the time. Also the use of the term riot = the perpetuated inaccurate perception that BLM protests are violent and the rioters who take advantage of the protests are actually protestors themselves. Whoever said that likely is unaware/ignorant of that important difference.

        • Orandine

          @1. While I would love that MR not be just for NYC women, it ends up being through the thousands of articles titled things like “29 Unspoken Rules of Living in New York” and “6 Things I Gave Up When I Moved to New York” and “10 New Yorkers Give Advice to New York Transplants” (all of those were written within the last year)
          @2 You realize that you can be a person of color and still be racist right…
          also @ “play the victim” …what has happened to you that has so thoroughly convinced you that people of color are acting and playing at being offended every day?
          @4 This is not a competition. If every time something slightly racist or problematic happened you were out here going “I HAVE LIVED IN 5 COUNTRIES AND SEEN MORE RACISM THAN YOU” .. would anything get solved? And how does your having seeing more stuff, or lived more years invalidify other people’s experiences?

          • b.e.g.

            I do not mean to invalidate any issues, or any of your experiences. Simply put, this was a humourous piece, and all the feminism and racism crtitics blew this out of proportion. Yes, Pepsi exploited the various movements across the country, but this attack on the article was too much. It was a well written humourous piece.

          • I.N.V.U

            Let people do better. You don’t have to for yourself. The piece was good but missed an essential point. I would want someone to point that out to me too. You have supposedly witnessed all this racism, well so has a lynch mob? Sexism? Applications at c4mpaignmanager@4moryears(dot)guv. Bearing witness and not changing anything for the better might quiet us but it doesn’t you. Stop throwing rocks and hiding your hand. Ask yourself why it bothers you that some people voice their opinion at all. Is it because those opinions used to be so heavily silenced that anything they say is automatically too loud? That any opinion of anything is blowing something out of proportion? That you just don’t like them and aren’t willing to do the heavy lifting of introspecting and assessing your upbringing or current environment to find out why?

            That you applaud one comment that says the same thing as other commenters and the only thing different is the race in their profile photos and their sex? Hmm, I won’t say you’re racist or sexist but you give me racist ‘I don’t hang out with women because they’re jealous of me’ vibes. I won’t say you’re cowardly (why not just who ‘they’ is by name?), can’t keep up with your own arguments (chastises everyone for pulling the race card and then pulls the race card on herself), delusional (appoints herself ambassador and official mouthpiece of country Red and Yellow, Black and White), believe your age exempts you from knowing any world history (let people fight for the right to speak for themselves, sometimes people do listen and change and if they don’t they weren’t listening anyway according to you so what does it matter if they talk talk talk?) but you give me those vibes. You can be racist and a person of color. If something is exploited, it is worth critiquing at least. There is no ‘too much’ when just a few simple questions and clarifications were made in the comments. What is so inflammatory about them anyway? The author said herself she was listening AND learning, why can’t you?

            For the record, I enjoyed the article, but I get where people are coming from about the various critiques. You can, after all, do both. Enjoy something and recognize areas of improvement. But your comment upthread wasn’t really about the article at all, was it (it was about suspicious thems! Get thems!)? You won’t answer any of these questions, probably not even quietly for yourself, like you skipped over all the others asked of you and latched onto the softest spots in each of those comments sucking any coherence dry even from your own replies, will you? I will close the door on my way out.

        • snakehissken

          Well, I’m only half your age, but I’ve lived in six cities in four countries all over the world. Am I allowed to have opinions on racism now or have I not hit the threshold yet?

          To be fair, I agree that calling this piece as racist as the ad went too far. But please don’t dismiss us. People are able to get openly upset about things now that they could never criticize 20-30 years ago, and for the most part that’s a good thing.

          • b.e.g.

            Lol. Intelligent, open discussions no matter your age! IMO, folks stop listening to us when we make every single thing about race.

          • snakehissken

            Just teasing you about something I think came out a little more dismissive than you intended. 🙂

            I really do see what you’re saying, because a number of my friends do this and I often have to talk them down. I don’t think it happens as much in person, but when it’s online, people really aren’t willing to be charitable towards someone else at all. All the readers here know Haley, and we know she quickly wrote this piece as humor about an ad that’s weird as hell. It wasn’t supposed to be a carefully researched piece about capitalizing on social justice for profit like that recent piece about fake corporate feminism at Thinx. She doesn’t deserve to be called names because she took a different angle from those hilarious twitter posts mourning how MLK and Malcolm X didn’t think to use Pepsi.

            But at the same time – and I know you know this – there are some people who stop listening when race is mentioned, ever. The KKK could gather outside the Howard University commencement to throw raw sewage and rocks labeled with the n-word and some people would insist it wasn’t about race. I don’t think we should have to reserve race for the most special discussions in order to please people who will never be happy.

          • b.e.g.

            huge kudos for this comment!

          • “almost as racist”

  • lazyjournalist

    This is brilliant. Except…
    The sad part of the ad is that women were at the helm of approval.
    Check the credits.

  • Simona Gorjan

    This post so good and so so needed. I read it, watched the ad, then had to read it again because I felt so frustrated with the whole thing 😀 More posts like this!!

  • Kaylan Waterman
  • can this article get an award of some type???

    • b.e.g.

      Haley is a gifted writer. She has breadth.

  • Margaret

    This is the fucking best.

  • cindy kazanjian

    You had me at “Grab your sandwiches and Cokes and find a seat.” HAHA! 🙂

  • Adriana Gasteazoro

    Am I just not getting the point of this article? Are you implying that if women, not men had created this ad it wouldn’t be so out of touch? I find that an oversimplification and offensive as well. As this article seems to confirm, women can be equally insensitive to social and racial issues as men.

  • Mafer Arroyo-Peyronnet

    Hilarious! I had a modern Mad Men episode in my head!

  • Áine Hegarty

    This is like something straight from a Will Eno play. It’s hilarious and probably too accurate.

  • This is just bad.
    Whilst I’m all up for political awareness and standing up for what’s important, this ad just glamourises the idea of a protest, like it’s just a ‘cool thing to do with your mates’ instead of actually caring about any specific cause. This whole ad, while visually beautiful (and it should be, given the budget) just gives off the vibe of a hipster music festival.
    Given how many real issues and problems are out there in the world, the fact that Pepsi decided to use the theme of a ‘protest’ without addressing anything meaningful AT ALL is somewhat derogatory to all the people who actually care.

  • Hard Little Machine

    It was thrown together by a diverse committee of drunk third world empowered feminist clowns who’ve been told their entire lives that they’re God’s gift to humanity. It was focus grouped by the Kardashians followers on twitter.

  • Linda

    I understood the hyperbole this article was written with and I couldn’t stop laughing out loud!! SO.GOOD!!

    The ad reminded me this sketch on SNL about cheerios ad’s pitch meeting. The sketch and this pepsi ad are both similar in the way that they are both a joke.

    It’s just a bit bummer, in my opinion, that so many comments were focused on how this article was written rather than the ridiculousness of this advertisement. I mean it’s Pepsi. So many people must have seen it and no one saw the red light?

    • b.e.g.

      Exactly. Thank you for making my point so clear.

      • So now I see what you’re saying. I honestly didn’t see where you were coming from at all in your replies before. It does remove the humor from the community when the comments section completely shifted the topic from what Haley probably intended the conversation in the comments to be, no doubt. To be fair, I thought the ridiculousness of this ad went without saying (and I even like Kendall Jenner!). I took this opportunity to comment on the article because I felt that mattered more for me and that it’s the comments section of the article, not the ad.

        • b.e.g.

          It’s cool. I am a different kind of fighter I guess. I deal with stereotypes and profiling all day long. Huge fucking drain on the psyche. I have to choose what is and isn’t worth pursuing. As you may have noticed, I am getting lots of insulting comments directed at me, but oh well. I can deal with it. It’s nothing more than anonymous ranting. All good research. You write well, I’d like to work on a paper together.

  • Junglesiren

    And yet… simply as an ad it failed. KJ has no “energy” on screen. If you look at the original with Rosario Dawson (from which this appears to have been “inspired”)… there’s much energy flowing from that woman. Kendell is a pretty girl, no doubt, but in terms of model/actress, she’s no Cindy Crawford.

    • b.e.g.

      Thanks for digging that up. Still, now, that ad is great.

  • Rachel Sapone

    This is a gaff about one of many implied perspectives to be captured by consumers regarding Pepsi’s commercial. I think it is more than awesome we have consumers that have either thoroughly researched or intimately know Pepsi’s workings and workers — and for you awesome few, you have represented your perspective. But a representation of Pepsi’s consumers, and dare I say, all consumers, for whatever reasons consumers have, do not follow the same model when evaluating media. This allows for the interpretation of media that is most useful/identifiable for the interpreter. In informative regulation, the calorie count was born. Legislation passed to incite healthier choices implied to many consumers, “Hey! If something is super cheap, and has a ton of calories, I am getting a bang for my buck! Looks like we’re eating Ramen and Doritos tonight!”

    Basically, brand developers take into account their dynamic market, its adjacent markets, and understand the implications of producing media. This article, right here, is an implication.

    In the Humor column.

  • Priyal

    That is never how an advertisement is made. You dont just throw around words. There is a good whole procedure to it. It is great how light hearted man repeller makes everything look like but I think this is just sick. Its just sick what you just did here. And the crappiest part was the distinction between male and female. What a baseless article this is. I think I lost all respect for manrepeller.

  • gabby

    wow this entire post epiphanizes the tunnel vision of white feminism

  • Pandora Sykes

    OH MY GOD IT’S SATIRE. When did the internet – and people of the internet – lose any kind of humour?
    Oh, yeah, right. Don’t answer that one.

  • jdhammer

    Holy shit that roof is in Bangkok. My apartment complex is in the background (look up milennium residence Bangkok) , the 4 identical towers. Why are they setting a protest in Bangkok, not a good idea with a military Junta

  • Helen

    ‘Grab your sandwiches and cokes and find your seats’ GOLD

  • pdbraide


  • Néo Bourgeois — Montecito

    No such thing as Millennials, that generation died in the financial crisis of 2008. It will take awhile for the proles to recognize and accept that the markets are all just a hologram. Pepsi is a shitty soda company of course the ad will suck.

  • frannypaul

    Not millenials. Gen Z’ers.

  • Seaver366

    Bottom line: It’s a bad piece of communication done by a group of people at pepsi, regardless of gender or politics, that pretty much suck at the most important (but least glamorous) parts of their jobs: understanding current culture, aligning that with their brand in a relevant and credible way, and executing it in a non-contrived and rewarding way. It’s a lot more fun, and a lot easier, do magazine and TV interviews about what kick-ass visionaries you all are. I get it. Thing is, our friends at Pepsi chose to ignore the time-tested wisdom that suggests you actually prove that you know what you’re doing before you begin congratulating yourselves. This team at Pepsi is as old as human nature. Back in the old west, I think they had once of the best names for these types of folks I have ever heard: All Hat, No Cattle.

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    I loved this (and GOT it)! The Pepsi Ad was stupid at best, (blatantly-and shamelessly capitalizing on several problems in our society while offering no solution), and also a very transparent (and lousy) attempt at branding Kendall Jenner as “woke.” Reading the more negative comments below though, makes me ask what was behind the “woman” vs “man” setting of the dialogue, but only because I myself don’t actually know who the individuals were who produced this commercial.