Critical Analysis Of Pepsi Advertisement Of “Live For Now”

Today, there are various controversial topics that inspire people to come up and start spreading awareness, even when consequences may happen. One of these topics has to do with Black Lives Matter, a dedicated movement for the rights of African Americans in the United States after being victims of police brutality and racism. The Black Lives Matter movements are initiated to spread information about an identity, in this case African Americans, that has been discriminated even in the present. In the Pepsi advertisement of “Live For Now”, there are protests happening in the street, and Kendall Jenner takes part of it by removing her looks and leaving her photo-shoot to join. Furthermore, the crowd cheers on as Jenner “saves the day with Pepsi”. The Pepsi advertisement showcases the example of the misunderstanding concept of racial identity and the raise of awareness to social issues around the country.

For years, the media has been known for many years to hide what really happens around the community and keep it silent in order to maintain their reputation. Advertisers usually base their marketing tactics on trends that young adults may relate to and can also include in the encouragement of their audience to feel included. Despite trying to claim the importance of the advertisement and to be involved, they end up making very misleading claims on their commercial and to leave people questioning the purpose of the advertisement. From an article named “Pepsi “Live for Now” Campaign = Social Media Fail” written by Lucy Fordyce, they explain the wreck of the Pepsi advertisement which was meant to “join the conversation” and instead was taken very light-heartedly and misunderstood a situation that continues to happen in the United States. According to Pepsi, they had put out a statement regarding the backlash of their advertisement and they “were trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding”. Based on their apology statement on their involvement, many brands usually do not focus on what they believe can be both beneficial for their company and the public. Since Pepsi’s advertising caused controversy of a misleading message, many people online had made comments about how unprofessional and unethical it seemed. This ties back to the idea that advertisers do not see the background of movements that spark the idea of recognizing identity and social justice.

Representing identity is one of the most discussed arguments due to the sensitivity of how one’s identity is looked at. This is no exception for the Black Lives Matter movement, which has worked tirelessly to spread awareness to their cause and help the community. Nowadays since advertisements want to be included in today’s society, they take their own definition of identity and transform it for better profit. Taking a look at the Pepsi “Live For Now” commercial, it is seen that celebrities take part in the advertisement as seen by Kendall Jenner taking off her wig and changing back to a more natural style while joining with the group of protesters. Jenner then walks up to the police officer with a Pepsi can in hand, and offers it to the officer as a peace offer, and they “saved the day with Pepsi.” Based on this scene of the ad, the celebrities being a part of the message convey a mixed feeling of representing the identity of the Black Lives Matter movement, and brings into question the validity of the commercial itself. In this context, most adverts use celebrities to bring some credibility of their message and increase their promotion value. Controversy began to form right after the airing of the commercial, with the public being upset about the poor representation of the movement and the racial identity being brought to light. When issues spark in social media about mistakes on how to take on trends regarding identity expression, brands are very quick to take back what they had said before to ensure their success does not fall down.

In many advertisements, there are never perfect examples of how society is and how it is represented. Often times, commercials can manipulate the audience’s view on identity and leaving out many details that should focus on the main message of unity. According to a study from an article named “Identity Distancing and Targeted Advertisements: The Black Sheep Effect” written by Tracy R. Harmon-Kizer, a study was hosted to identify effects that marketing tends to have when having different people of different backgrounds looking. Based on the study, “...consideration raises the question as to whether the use of targeted advertisements consumer reactions to the advertising…” In the study, the author claims that the commercials are targeted for consumer reactions, and causes viewers to be at times to not have an idea of the purpose of each ad shown. In addition, the article explains the mistakes advertisements do when attempting to connect to their cultural audience by stating, “Oftentimes, marketers may not have a full perspective of norms… they may run the risk of alienating or offending a certain group members through targeted advertising.” With connection to the Pepsi advertisement, it is safe to say that the commercial did not have a clear image of the protests of Black Lives Matter, and instead alienated their audience with a poor example.

To conclude, the Pepsi “Live For Now” advertisement was not taken in a good concept due to their lack of research on the subject of social justice and racial identity. The advertisement had rather taken an interest in appearing in the trending world where young people could relate to social justice and to voice your thoughts. However, it had ended up on a big controversy by the internet due to their unethical and poor advertisement message. Celebrities who also take part in controversial advertisements are there for credibility for the adverts, but often do not represent the message of the commercial itself. Advertisements do not often the audience’s views on various subjects and end up making manipulative statements, whether it is intentional or not. In the end, adverts make mistakes on taking on the full form of identity. Thus, it may cause to separate themselves from their own viewers instead of drawing them closer.

01 February 2021
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