Pepsi’s ad staff may have been trying to strike a similar tone to Coke’s famous “Hilltop” 1971 ad However, Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner “Live for Now” advertisement misses the mark with the visual rhetoric choices the sponsors made.
Much of the criticism has focused on the ad’s unrealistic portrayal of a protest march as a pleasant outing, as well as its featuring of a rich and beautiful white model as a hero. Such images trivialize racially-charged issues as well as the protest process.
Edward Boches explains the difference between the Coke and Pepsi ads: ““The ‘Hilltop’ spot wasn’t attempting to dramatize a real event. It was clearly contrived [visually] and invented as a moment. The Pepsi spot is attempting to recreate a protest march and in a very unrealistic way. Two, the promise of the Coke spot was a simple sentiment and a wish. ‘We would like to teach … as in ‘like to.’ It was a wish.”
Instagram Reacts to Pepsi Advertisement
Instagram exploded with meme images such as the two below that satirize the Pepsi advertisement. What is the point of these images? Perhaps that complex and racially charged situations cannot be solved by a Pepsi.