By now, you’ve probably watched Pepsi’s cringe-inducing (and short-lived) new ad featuring Kendall Jenner — and if not, The Washington Post’s Elahe Izadi broke it down so you don’t have to.
It’s an understatement to say the ad fell flat.
The resulting memes, however, did not.
The ad was eviscerated by people who accused Pepsi of appropriating serious political and social-justice movements to sell soda.
In a statement to Teen Vogue on Tuesday, Pepsi at first defended the commercial as depicting “various groups of people embracing a spontaneous moment … to live life unbounded, unfiltered and uninhibited.”
But on Wednesday, Pepsi reversed course, announcing it was pulling the ad and putting a stop to the campaign.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said in a statement. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
By then, it was too late. The Internet had already embraced its own “spontaneous moment” — by uniting to take Pepsi to task with some ferocious memes.
Some highlighted serious moments from real protests …
… from the civil rights movement to the present — sarcastically suggesting everything could have been different if only protesters had had a Pepsi.
Even Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, chimed in.
The police officer’s facial expressions at the end of the commercial got special attention.
Pepsi had the power to change song lyrics.
Others imagined alternate Pepsi ad campaigns and slogans.
Pepsi: Obviously the missing keystone to resolving complicated geopolitical conflicts and achieving world peace.
And finally, The Post’s Gene Park noted this was not the first time Pepsi has made a marketing misstep.
This post has been updated.