Pepsi's Kendall Jenner Ad Controversy - 5 Facts You May Not Know

Pepsi debuted its brand new "Live for Now" campaign on April 4, 2017. But, unfortunately for the soda company, no one's too happy about the commercial. Here's what you need to know about the growing controversy that's been stirred up by Big Soft Drink.

What's the commercial all about?

As Nicki Swift reported, the ad, which features Kendall Jenner, shows a crowd of protesters wielding signs that read, "Join the Conversation." As the protesters march down a street, Jenner watches from the nearby set of a photo shoot. She soon locks eyes with a man in the crowd, and the ever socially conscious reality star decides to take action. She soon joins the protesters, winding her way through the crowd to hand a cop a can of Pepsi—sparking cheers from the citizens behind her.

How have people reacted?

If you watched the ad, you know that Pepsi is seemingly trying to get viewers to associate its soft drink with peace. But in doing so, many people believe the company is belittling actual social issues—primarily police brutality against people of color. Many Twitter users, Variety notes, have speculated that Pepsi tried recreating the iconic image of the calm, young protester Ieshia Evans being arrested by police officers in riot gear in Baton Rouge, La.

"I'm sure @pepsi already has an apology drafted. These companies are not THAT tone deaf," one Twitter user wrote. "They're using controversy to their advantage."

What's Pepsi done?

Soon after the commercial aired and backlash against the ad began, Pepsi defended its new campaign. "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 company said in a statement (via People).

However, since receiving more and more hate for the insensitive advertisement, Pepsi has changed its tune. After pulling the ad, Pepsi issued a public apology with a statement to The New York Times on April 5, 2017. "Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding," Pepsi said. "Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position."

Has Kendall Jenner responded?

Jenner has so far remained quiet on her involvement in the ad campaign. However, according to People magazine, she has deleted multiple tweets that had promoted the new commercial. A source also told the publication that Jenner, who was reportedly "thrilled" to work with the soda company, "would have been absolutely mortified" by the public backlash against Pepsi.

"She would have called Kris [Jenner] SO upset and freaking out," the source explained. "And then Kris would go into mom mode and approach it like, 'Let's do something about this, NOW.'"

So far, neither Jenner nor her mother have issued a public statement.

What other controversial ads has Pepsi aired in the past?

Pepsi's no stranger to creating controversy. In 1989, it released a commercial starring Madonna and featuring her song "Like a Virgin." According to CNN, the ad was pulled after the public spoke out against the song's music video, which was released the day after the commercial aired and showed burning crosses as well as a kiss between the pop singer and a black man who was dressed as a saint.

Since the latest Pepsi scandal, Madonna's spoken out. She shared a video of Pepsi's "Live for the Moment" commercial on Instagram and, in the caption, wrote, "When you wake up and realize that S*** just really doesn't make sense."

Madonna continued, "Side Note: My Pepsi commercial was pulled 30 years ago because I was kissing a black saint! #ironic."