Meet the Gen Z brand whisperers: ‘I come in and I’m like: don’t make some weird old-ass
Just after April Fools’ Day in 2017, Pepsi debuted a short film that seemed to many like a bad joke. In the two-and-a-half-minute Live for Now advert, Kendall Jenner joined a protest against nothing in particular; the model marched with a laughing crowd who were waving signs bearing vague slogans like “Join the conversation”. At the climax, Jenner approached a stern police officer with a can of Pepsi, and a photographer captured the moment when she, apparently, achieved world peace.
The advert was pulled a day after its release. Viewers accused Pepsi of trivialising Black Lives Matter and minimising police brutality; Martin Luther King’s youngest child, Bernice King, tweeted, “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.” The company issued an immediate apology: “Clearly we missed the mark … We did not intend to make light of any serious issue.”
Multiple people would have signed off on the scripting, production, filming and release of this advert – and it seems that no one, at any point , thought it was a bad idea. Luckily, five years on, there’s…