Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Think Twice Before Creating Content on Social Topics

"Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position."
-- Pepsi statement on April 5, 2017

Last year, Pepsi released a commercial featuring Kendall Jenner, a supermodel, who joined protesters in a demonstration. This commercial raised controversy surrounding how Pepsi showed no sensitivity towards social topics and had no idea what it is like being on the front lines of protests these recent years.

"If the Black Lives Matter movement were led by a 21-year-old white supermodel armed with a can of fizzy soda, then maybe everyone would just get along." says NBC.

There is definitely value for creating marketing content surrounding social topics. However there is sensitivity towards every social topic and the risk of ignorance is very high. Pepsi's ad had a well-crafted story with fancy filming skills and inspiring background music. What's lacking was due diligence and the understanding of what real demonstration is like - even if I've never been part of any demonstration, I could see how the ads selectively dramatized the scene. Here is a full clip of the ads, which was removed by Pepsi as the statement said.


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