I will not bow to any sponsor.

Wow, for an ad about solving protests peacefully by offering diabetes in a can, Pepsi sure shot themselves in the face. I’d link the ad, but it’s bound to be taken down most everywhere by the time anyone would read this. If you somehow missed the “Joy of Now” ad in all of its Kendall Jenner whitewashed glory, the whole thing was a cynical cringe-fest aimed at co-opting the spirit of unrest that’s been rife in the past few years. I don’t know which brilliant internal ad exec thought going for the Bad Taste of a New Generation route would yield newfound cultural capital to coke’s attic dwelling doppelgänger. Possibly a now ex-internal ad exec.

The ad revolves around some manner of unspoken political protest. “Join The Conversation” proclaim the smiling, photogenic protester’s placards. Unfortunately for Pepsi Co, a vast many online commenters did join the conversation, quick to point out the utter absurdity of jumping on board the rebellion bandwagon by kickin’ it with a global corporation. The ad featured artists from different walks of life – A musician, photographer, model (Jenner) all noticing the protest and joining in. Whatever undefined issue was at hand when Jenner strolled past the protesting lines, a can of Pepsi awkwardly clutched between thumb and forefinger as one might hold something smelly or contagious (so as not to obscure the label, in this case), and handed it to a cop. The cop took a sip and the crowd behind erupted into cheers. Yeah, it was that fellowkids. Oh well, even if the seemingly universal condemnation did stem the rollout of their campaign, at least it’s given us countless memes that will surely entertain us all for the next week.

Pepsi Co is no stranger to misguided marketing attempts. Surely we all remember the infamous “Dub the Dew” promotion, resulting in “Hitler did nothing wrong” and “Gushing Granny” leading the pack for suggested new “Mtn Dew” flavour names? In a perfect world…

It must be pretty hard to be a marketer these days. Snark has always been in vogue, but with increasingly interconnected online communities, it’s more readily available than ever before. Unless you’re Oreos, according to a recent Google poll. I’ve read the report and still struggle to see why they’re something teens hold in such high regard. Seriously though, is a survey of 1000 teens really a valid cross-section? It’s weird, but people these days seem to be both more gullible and skeptical than ever. People are more likely to believe things if they coincide with their previously held convictions, so on one hand I kind of understand why Pepsi would’ve lunged into such a massive misstep. On the other hand, those who’re can see through marketing bullshit are able to exponentially amplify their voices in ways the 90s never offered. The notion of “cool” has always held ties to a lack of effort. It’s something you are rather than something you try to acquire.

Just ask Justin Timberlake. Drop the “The” already, Pepsi.

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