It's happened. The nadir of brands using ethical consciousness to sell products has been reached with a (since pulled) Pepsi advert that reveals the secret weapon in combating police brutality: carbonated soft drinks.
Here we break it down scene-by-scene:
We open on a man virtuosically playing the cello on a roof. Why? Absolutely no idea at this point, but I’m already very invested in his character arc.
Now we jump to a protest on the streets, but a very client-approved one, where none of the signs are profane and all of them are strangely colour coordinated. 'Join the conversation' one sheepishly reads, presumably decided on after the first draft: 'Maybe talk to people idk haha'.
Next up is shots of a Muslim woman drawing. This ad has almost surgically established how multicultural it is already, but the focus pull to the can of Pepsi reminds you of the most important thing here: cola virtually indistinguishable from that of other brands!
Oh, it seems Kendall Jenner just happens to be doing a photo shoot right next to the protest route. She looks over at it with amazement, having never come into contact with the proletariat until now.
The chorus hits at this point in the ad and I hate it deeply. “We are the lions / we are the chosen / we gonna shine out the dark” Skip Marley sings, with what I can only describe as perfunctory defiance.
Cello guy is back! He’s moved inside, having presumably realised that rooftops aren’t really acoustically optimal. Nice apartment, though; look at that Pepsi-themed exposed brickwork. He hears the sound of the protest and moves to the balcony to survey it while drinking a cool can of Pepsi™.
Unidentified models totally ‘rock out’ at the corporate rally. Jesus, we’re not even halfway through.
Frustrated that her photos don’t perfectly capture the Pepsi user experience while being socio-politically right on, this lady grabs her camera and heads outside.
Apropos nothing, protestors break into dance, because, if commercials have taught me anything, it’s that taking up street dance is the best way to be true to yourself and who you are, live laugh love #IAmPepsi.
Cello guy makes plans to duet with a guitarist, and I'm suddenly grateful for the Skip Marley track because this would sound fucking god awful.
Kendall Jenner is SO DONE with modelling and pulls off her wig to join the protest. Remember that she has absolutely no idea what they’re protesting, but when did that ever matter in 2017?
Brief still of trans women just to ensure every last box is ticked.
Who brought an assorted tub of delicious, chilled Pepsi to the protest? If the first step of resistance is to 'organize' then these guys will be toppling the establishment in no time. Hell, they've probably got a spread of crudités riding at the back of the march in a dedicated wagon.
Instinctively, Kendall grabs a can and strides to the front of the crowd.
The photographer is there to capture the moment, knowing that a photo of Jenner has strong tabloid sale potential.
The model turned revolutionary hands the can to a curiously riot shield-less police officer who, seeing she is white, calls off the tear gas and graciously accepts the cool beverage.
He takes a sip and the crowd goes wild. Everyone can go home now, having completed their mission to quench the thirst of local police.
The officer chuckles to his colleague. “I didn’t even have to kill anyone!”
The crowd returns to their racially diverse commune to host a slam poetry competition based around the themes: ‘What’s your favourite thing about Pepsi Cola?’ and ‘Doesn’t oppression totally suck right?’
‘LIVE BOLDER. LIVE LOUDER. LIVE FOR NOW’ the advert declares at its close. I’d add ‘LIVE IN FICTITIOUS PEPSI UTOPIA’, because what we just witnessed had little effect in real life:
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