April 6, 2017

Seth Meyers has an alternative ending for that Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad.



Sharp and funny, with what Meyers must hope is a politically correct degree of pain.

I wrote a lot about the Pepsi ad yesterday — here — and this parody only underscores my commitment to the viral video theory (that is, Pepsi didn't blunder, but meant to set the social media machine in motion).

One thing to consider is that the ad was made in-house:
The ad was produced by Pepsi’s in-house team, Creators League Studio. If there was ever an argument to be made by outside advertising agencies, this is it. I can imagine many agencies fine tuning their pitches right now, adding a mention that by employing them they will never have to deal with the kind of blowback Pepsi is dealing with today.
So maybe in-house Pepsi people are naive... or so the outside agencies will be saying as they pursue self-interest scaring clients out of taking advertising work in house.
The ad is long at 2:40, which means, mercifully, Pepsi [never had a plan to spend] any money broadcasting it (I assume). It was meant to be a viral piece of video – in that they succeeded.
That is, we know by the length of the video that it wasn't designed to be placed in media, and the idea had to be that people would play and pass along the ad, and that definitely worked and is still working.

48 comments:

David Begley said...

Yeah, the ad worked. I still will never buy Pepsi.

Curious George said...

"Sharp and funny, with what Meyers must hope is a politically correct degree of pain."

Uh, no and no, and what?

Expat(ish) said...

Pepsi is what they apologetically offer you in a cheap 'straunt when you order a coke.

Hard to fix that with a commercial.

-XC

PS - Don't care if it was "born in the Carolinas."

Laslo Spatula said...

"Black Sodas Matter."

Because you can use the "Black Lives Matter" as a template and just change a word, and -- bingo -- comedy.

Feel free to try it.

I am Laslo.

Darrell said...

Pepsi--the Un-American Cola.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Sharp and funny? To make the police look like a-holes?

Hardly. This just adds to the racial barriers.

MadisonMan said...

I'm still not going to watch the ad. Because Kardashian.

I agree though: Pepsi knew exactly what they were doing, and all this publicity is good for them, because ultimately people realize what a non-controversy the whole thing is.

Disclaimer: I have 1 or 2 cans of Pepsi per month.

Darrell said...

I don't get the Seth Meyers joke. Was that a fart?

Ann Althouse said...

"Sharp and funny? To make the police look like a-holes?"

It not only critiques some police from the point of view of those who see and fear police brutality, it can be seen as poking fun at those who exaggerate the negativity of the police.

Making fun of the police is a LONG tradition in American comedy. Of COURSE, the police are the bad guys for comic purposes. You think they're sacred cows?

richlb said...

I wouldn't say it was never meant to be broadcast. At least not in it's full length. Many agencies create long form videos for YouTube and other social channels, plus edited down (30 sec/60 sec) for broadcast. If this would have been well received, I'm sure there was an edit ready for some form of television, whether broadcast or cable/satellite.

Fernandinande said...

Poisoned Pepsi - great idea!

EDH said...

It would have been funnier if the black woman handed the white cop Kendall Jenner's blonde wig... and he put it on.

Althouse: BUT: Only a desire for virality can explain why, when Kendall Jenner rips off her blonde wig (at 1:48), she hands it to a black woman. Here, hold my wig. I gotta protest. I mean, it's one thing to say stop being blonde if you're going to join a protest, but it's aggravating to fling that thing at the nearest black woman.

Darrell said...

The most obvious joke would have been the can being shaken before being given to the cop.

richlb said...

@Darrell - I was expecting that, followed by a severe nightstick beating a la Rodney King.

Bob Boyd said...

Pepsi's ad clashes with the narrative on BLM and America's culture in general. It moves the perspective to a different, less angry, less polarized view point where protesters and police could conceivably find something in common and see each other empathetically.
For some reason SNL felt the need to move it back.

chickelit said...

Pepsi is for pussies anyways.

I can think of Jack and Coke, Rum and Coke, Brandy Seven, etc.

Is there one classic mixed drink named for a Pepsi product?

Michael K said...

" Of COURSE, the police are the bad guys for comic purposes. You think they're sacred cows?"

It's a long way from "Officer Krumpke" to Dallas and five dead.

wildswan said...

If you come to San Francisco/ Please have a Pepsi in your hand

exhelodrvr1 said...

Ann,
"Of COURSE, the police are the bad guys for comic purposes. You think they're sacred cows?"

No, Ann, they are not sacred cows. But this is all about context, Ann. Context. The context of the attacks on the police over the past several years, and the context that there will not be a parallel commercial where the black woman looks like a jerk. Surprised you can't see that.

The Vault Dweller said...

I don't know if getting a video to go viral for the sake of going viral makes sense in this case. Typically the two big reasons for advertising are name/product recognition and trying to associate some kind of positive feeling with a product.

Pepsi already has pretty substantial name recognition, and while there does have to be some maintenance advertising to keep this up, I doubt this was intended with this commercial which doesn't seem like it was intended to air on TV, or even most internet venues.

This leaves the idea that they were trying to attach some sort of positive emotion to the brand. And it looks like, they were aiming for a young, tough, principled, non-conformist kind of energy. But it seems to have backfired, along both sides of the political spectrum.

To the right this looks like young, dumb lefties, upset some amorphous bad thing hoping to change the world by doing an ultimately pointless and ineffective gesture marching. I know when I saw the video, I couldn't stop my eyes from rolling into the recesses of my head.

To the left, I think it appears the same which makes them uncomfortable because they recognize which role they are supposed to fill in this ad. So the left might react by thinking no this is wrong, our problems are real and we really are fighting for justice. We matter! And you see that in the lefty criticisms of the ad, Seth Myers spoof included, which try to say that this ad diminishes real police brutality or minimizes that actual effort and hard work done by activists to change a corrupt system.

So how does this ad help Pepsi? If you want virality for much cheaper, you could simply announce that in 2 weeks pepsi will live stream the slaughtering of various animals, rabbits, cows, pigs, goats, calfs, etc. all of which will then be cleaned, butchered and BBQ for an upcoming Pepsi BBQ. That would certainly get some attention, but I don't think it would help pepsi.

AllenS said...

Pepsi's CEO is a whacked out Lib, that's why the in-house team will not be replaced.

wildswan said...

Advice for women going to demo:

Wear an extra long T-shirt and a strong belt on strong jeans so when you get dragged away your clothes stay on and tucked in. Have one piece of ID, some cash, nothing with that you value except your convictions. Know the group you are with. If they can't or won't control crazies you should not be with them. No writing or emblems on your gray sweatshirt (so you can keep it in jail).

And, despite the clothing restrictions, it is (or was when they were happening) quite common to meet and fall in love at prolife demos.

The above doesn't apply to lefty demos - including the part about meeting and falling in love.

rcocean said...

I find all the current late night talk show hosts unfunny.

Is it an age thing?

rcocean said...

Comedy is in the eye of the beholder, but I didn't find the ending "sharp or funny". It looked like the standard lets joke about the cops being brutal or racist - y'know like we've seen 1 million times.

Of course, I don't really care about the subject that much, so there's that. I don't think Cops in the USA are either racist or brutal, it seems like #fakenews. I'm willing to be convinced, but i get the impression that plenty of liberals WANT to believe cops are racist/brutal because of their ideology, not the facts.

Or maybe the older ones are still stuck in a 1965 timewarp.

Darrell said...

I find all the current late night talk show hosts unfunny.

Is it an age thing?


Yes. And a lack-of-humor thing.

Todd said...

Darrell said...

I don't get the Seth Meyers joke. Was that a fart?

4/6/17, 9:00 AM


I concur. Can someone explain what the "joke" is? Why does the cop's expression change after some sort of sharp noise is heard? Either my PC audio is really bad or I am just "hipster joke" tone deaf...

The Vault Dweller said...

Todd said...

I concur. Can someone explain what the "joke" is? Why does the cop's expression change after some sort of sharp noise is heard? Either my PC audio is really bad or I am just "hipster joke" tone deaf...


I believe the joke is that the Pepsi commercial showed a possibly tense situation between protesters and police being defused by a protester giving a Pepsi to a police officer. Whereas, according to the joke teller and some others, in real life that wouldn't work because Police officers, especially white, male ones, irrationally hate and fear black people. Even when they are just trying to share a Coke. Err.. Pepsi.

wildswan said...

To me it seems as if from the Millenials forward the Y-Gen, the younger generation, are very aware of social sin but aware only of social sin and only certain social sins at that. They think that they renounce Satan and all his works and all his pomps when they denounce America and the whole European past just the way a Moslem would denounce "the Great Ignorance" which is everything before Muhammed. Individual sins are washed away when you acknowledge America's sins and those of the whole past.

What will go wrong is that it will turn out that they supported a number of social sins and they will find this intolerable. In the end they will see that abortion and contraception were aimed at the blacks and were wiping them out just when the Millennials were parading about and talking about police brutality toward blacks. And the Millennials did nothing because they wanted unrestricted access to abortion and contraception for themselves.

And it will turn out that trade deals the Millennials supported by supporting Democrats and working against Trump were particularly bad for blacks and particularly good for white and Asians millennials.

And it will turn out that unrestricted immigration was particularly good for Hispanic Millennials and particularly bad for blacks.

And it will turn out that personal selfishness explains why Y-Gen ignored the social sins of their own time committed by their own selves. And then ...? And then is unpredictable. When you have to leave the Eden of pretend innocence and blinding insufferable self-righteousness, where is next in the wide world, O sad little snowflake? Still, everyone else is there with you.

Sebastian said...

"Sharp and funny, with what Meyers must hope is a politically correct degree of pain." So I was thinking that I usually totally get where AA is coming from, even if I disagree, even if she holds forth on a certain recent Nobel lit prize winner, but then this.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Where did Pepsi find so many models? A protest without fat chicks seems absurdly unrealistic. maybe that's why the left is bent about it.

William said...

The joke was aimed at the cop. There's no possible way the fatuity and self righteousness of a black demonstrator could be parodied. Some things are just too sacrosanct.........As someone noted yesterday, the underlying purpose is to establish awareness of the existence of Pepsi. I do not think there is any significant difference between Coke, Pepsi, and RC Cola, but. if given the choice, I would choose Coke. I guess this proves not the superiority of their product, but the superiority of their advertising or tradition. It must prove something. Anyway, it's kind of stupid to drink carbonated sugar water of any type........Would the joke be funnier if she wore a hijab?

rhhardin said...

It's a stupid and lefty alternate ending.

jimf said...

Hey...Attractive Lives Matter...

Darrell said...

All of Seth Meyers' jokes would be funnier if the punchline was "I'm thinking of committing suicide."

holdfast said...

"Is there one classic mixed drink named for a Pepsi product?"

Screech and Pepsi. It's a Newfoundland rum. By tradition it cannot be consumed with Coke because for decades Coke was essentially unavailable in that province, and so the locals have a long-lived loyalty to Pepsi. It's probably the only political entity in North America where Pepsi outsells Coke.

Patrick said...

Hell yes they meant to do this. I bet they even paid a few well connected "woke" people on Twitter to get the outrage machine cranked up.

Michael Gazonymous said...

IMO the current late night "comedians" need to get the hell off Johnny Carson's lawn.

Yancey Ward said...

I missed this post yesterday, but someone else had linked the video somewhere and I had seen it, and my very first thought was this couldn't possibly have been been meant for television because it was over a minute and half too long at best- it had to have been meant for viral video advertising.

Also, after watching it, I also felt sure the outrage was manufactured at some level, though the thing that gives me pause on this is the nature of the biggest part of it- that the outrage seems to come from supporters of "Black Lives Matter". I have to believe no one at the corporate level of Pepsico would have taken that route.

Yancey Ward said...

You want to know what would have made the Myers piece funny? Have other protesters behind the cop breaking into a 7-11 and looting it while he is distracted, and carrying out big bottles of Coke.

Yancey Ward said...

Darrell and Richlb,

Yes, that combo would have been hilarious!

rcocean said...

"Yes. And a lack-of-humor thing."

Yet, I find you, Trooper York, and Laslo hilarious. Not to mention old-timey David Letterman and Norm MacDonald.

I think its an age thing.

Bill said...

Can we please return to worthier concerns about soda, akin to the Great Cyclamate Scare of 1970?

mockturtle said...

Outrage-->Publicity [or 'virality']. Any kind of controversy is a marketing plus for for the market Pepsi wants.

AllenS said...

The ad would have worked a lot better, if Kendall Jenner didn't have any clothes on.

Skyler said...

Young people don't drink sodas anymore. This is desperate.

Are we supposed to know who Kendal Jenner is?

Sammy Finkelman said...

I find all the current late night talk show hosts unfunny.

Is it an age thing?


In part. because you don't share the premises upon which the comedy is based. And you don't ahare it because you know too much. (and maybe also you did not encounter the particular view of reality that the joke may be premised on - a view you know too much to take seriously.)

Sammy Finkelman said...

the Great Cyclamate Scare of 1970?

1969! This was because of the Delayney amendment of 1958.

In Canada cyclamates stayed legal, while saccarin was outlawed.

Jim S. said...

You know there were people involved at all levels of making that commercial who had worked their butts off all their lives to achieve something, to finally become a name in their field, and for whom that commercial was supposed to be the culmination of all their hard work. When they saw it first released they cheered, they high-fived, they may have even wept. Finally all their sacrifices would be redeemed, all their hopes were coming into view. They had made it. And then the huge negative reaction took their lives away. Not only had they not made it, now they never will.

Yeah, I'm kind of a pessimist.