Model and Kardashian clan member Kendall Jenner's turn as a Pepsi-wielding protester became an instant subject of mockery on social media for appropriating imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement when it was released last week. "Saturday Night Live" skewered the ad on its latest episode with a "behind-the-scenes" look at how the ad came to be.
The original ad titled "Live for Now Moments" was released Tuesday, with Jenner in a platinum wig on a photo shoot as protesters amble by. She rips off her wig, smears away her lipstick and joins them, eventually handing an officer on the demonstration line a can of Pepsi. He gulps some down, and then grins as Jenner dances off with her new friends.
Reaction on social media ranged from some saying the imagery was tone deaf, to it evoking a widely circulated photo of Black Lives Matter protester Leshia Evans last year in Louisiana. Evans was detained when she approached police at a demonstration in Baton Rouge.
- SodaStream's Makeover Is a Success, but Can the Stock Keep Climbing?
- The Super Bowl Ads Everyone Is Talking About (And the One Fox Censored)
- Sexualizing Smurfette: How Israeli Advertisers Exploit ultra-Orthodox for PR Stunts
In a statement late Tuesday night, Pepsi defended the ad.
"This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that's an important message to convey," the statement said.
Mashable pointed out Pepsi's ad isn't the first to wade into this territory, "Besides all the funny jokes, the ad echoes a 1999 video by the Chemical Brothers for the single "Out of Control," as writer Dorian Lynksey first pointed out on Twitter."