Item! Crass Commercialism is Sometimes Only Crass Commercialism

The outrage over Pepsi’s “short film” with Kendall Jenner seems misguided. 

From the articles I’ve read, the outrage appears to be focused on the scene where Kendall Jenner offers a police officer a Pepsi. 

Despite the enraged voices and satirical responses, Pepsi doesn’t appear to have been suggesting that its fizzy soda is a talisman that will prevent police brutality

The ad never indicated the marchers were protesting for the same reason as Black Lives Matter.  The marchers were described by a Washington Post columnist as “a diverse group of beaming protesters flashing peace signs and flirtatious glances.”

The ad never indicated that the police were on the verge of revealing themselves as jack-booted thugs about to steamroll the dreamy-eyed marchers. 

In its ad, Pepsi merely showed a diversity of people supporting one another.


The offering of soda to the police officer appeared as nothing more than an act of kindness. 

Yes, Pepsi is employing such imagery in pursuit of its crass commercial interests. 

That’s a far cry though from exploiting or mocking a serious social justice movement like Black Lives Matter.