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In 2017 many brands and advertisers attempted to capitalize on the growing “social justice” feelings that were being heavily pushed at that time. Many ads run during this time were not well received but not many received as much notoriety as the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad. This brands marketing in the ad was ineffective because many viewed it as tone deaf as well as making light of serious issues in a disrespectful and demeaning way while also being perceived as an ill-advised cash grab attempt through playing towards the polarizing social climate of the time majorly failing on all fronts especially the ethos appeal in the ad.
While heavily lacking a true grasp on a publicly acceptable advertisement, mainly due to a lack of ethos, tone-deaf is the way to label the advertisement. This is because Pepsi doesn’t seem to be conscious of the significance of what they’re showing in the ad. The ad makes it look like protesting is a cool and almost insignificant thing people do for kicks. One of the main reasons why individuals protest is for the reason that they disagree with something. Largely when viewing people in a protest of any kind they are outraged, worried or even scared. No one in the Pepsi ad looks like this and from this people identify a sense, or lack thereof an ability for Pepsi to actually be knowledgeable in the ideas its promoting. This failure to appear aware of the ads true weight greatly reduced the perceived ability for the ads attempt at ethos.
During the period of time this advertisement ran the social climate of the United States wise quite tumultuous. Protests, as shown in the Pepsi ad, were a constant occurrence at the time and Pepsis brand attempted to capitalize on it in many viewers’ minds. The usage of a multi-million dollar lead of Kendal Jenner in the ad displayed to peoples logos that the ad truly had the deeper intention of simply selling the idea that Pepsi is more interested in financial gain than developing a brand face that the population at large would be proud to purchase from. Any savvy consumer after viewing the ad would most likely feel as though the brand was disingenuous towards the viewer and be less likely to continue supporting the company here being Pepsi. Many of the best marketing operations hit their respective marks ultimately by conjuring strong emotions in the viewers of an ad. Whether the emotions are to be positive or negative from the viewer is determined by the brands purpose for the ad. Although most commonly a positive emotion is better suited in the field of marketing for a brand even a negative emotion can be used effectively to get a point across, but there is one important thing to remember in the hazardous world of marketing the goal is to sell a product by constructing a respected brand image. When a brands ad is watched by a group of individuals they know this is the main goal. They know what they are seeing is advertising, and when marketers use advertising that parallels real, serious events, it can be hard for viewers to not see a company trying to cash in on the true plights of others in an attempt to almost swindle their emotions to the company views. The now infamous Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner fell victim to this and as a brand they missed the mark and suffered mightily due to this perception of the brand face.
The Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad of 2017 failed greatly in its pursuit to become a company that cares for the plights of the consumers by being overall tone-deaf on the subject matter as well as making light of serious societal issues in a demeaning and disrespectful way, as well as being perceived as more of an ill-advised cash grab ad than a brand attempting to show comradely to a Social cause.
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