Just as I eagerly await Trumpcare Part Two, I am also anticipating a Pepsi commercial do-over.
And although I have no experience on the health care front, and can therefore not tell the president and congressional leaders how to write a new plan that does not make the Twitterverse explode in rage, I do have suggestions that will ensure the soft drink giant doesn’t stumble again.
Last week was very difficult if you were a Pepsi marketing executive or Kendall Jenner. A two-and-a-half-minute commercial starring the reality television star was pulled from YouTube after a single day for one, or a combination of, the following reasons:
- It made light of serious protest movements, solely for the sake of selling soda.
- It offended cellists worldwide by insinuating it was possible to play the instrument while drinking Pepsi.
- It erroneously assumed viewers would watch a two-minute commercial.
- It starred Kendall Jenner.
Jenner, incidentally, shouldn’t feel too upset that her Pepsi-drinking and protest-calming skills disappeared after a single day. Actor Shia LaBeouf’s new movie, Man Down, sold exactly one ticket at its U.K. debut the same week. Thankfully Pepsi didn’t hire LaBeouf as its pitchman.
I don’t feel too sorry for Jenner; history shows that anyone associated with the Kardashian/Jenner brand has a remarkable habit of rebounding from failure defined by low ratings, poor sales or bad marriage choices. It’s not her fault the commercial tanked; rather, Pepsi failed to establish a relationship between today’s young, very vocal generation and a soft drink. A rewrite is in order.
The ad was perplexing in that it never identified why the protesters were marching. Many critics said the ad mocked the recent #BlackLivesMatter marches protesting police brutality. I didn’t see it that way; all I saw in the commercial were break dancers, musicians, peace sign carriers and one hijab-cloaked woman snapping photos. None appeared angry. But Pepsi could remove speculation about the ad’s intent by defining a cause. Why not something simple? Something that needs to be eradicated immediately? I suggest an all-out effort to stop the show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” from being renewed. Heck, I’d join that protest, even if there was no Pepsi to be found.
With the march in full force, and protesters shouting, “Go Away, Kim and Kanye,” enter Jenner. Like the original commercial, Jenner would wear a blonde wig and be in the middle of a modeling shoot when she sees the movement streaming toward her. In an epiphany, Jenner decides the world would truly be a better place if she and her sisters would take regular jobs and realize there are bigger problems in the world than choosing which handbag would best accessorize a pair of skinny jeans.
In an act of true rebellion, Jenner ditches her cellphone, proving she is done tweeting and Instagramming every moment of her existence. Grabbing a Pepsi, she joins the marchers and actually WALKS! Her limo driver is seen weeping in the background.
Now comes the commercial’s climax: The movement confronts a wall of police officers. Not knowing the protest’s intent, the officers raise their riot shields, fearing hostilities. Jenner strides to the front of the line, shows the officers the latest tabloid magazine cover featuring any member of her family (yes, that includes Caitlyn) rips it to shreds and throws the remnants in the air. Thousands of other marchers do the same, creating a Kardashian confetti shower. The officers cheer and smile. A newsstand vendor strikes a match to a magazine that screams, “Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna split. AGAIN!” Everyone drinks Pepsi against a backdrop of breakdancing cellists.
Just as the crowd disperses, the camera pans to a homeless individual holding a cardboard sign that reads “Out of Work. Please Help!” Jenner approaches him. The two exchange words and, smiling, Jenner offers him a Pepsi.
Shia LaBeouf says, “Thank you.”