6th April 2017
Posted by Sophia Evans

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Since the introduction of sugar tax, which will put a levy on all sugary drinks by the end of 2018, we’ve seen a rise in marketing efforts from brands such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull and of course Pepsi.

So, we’re looking at the latest controversial advert from Pepsi, which has had everyone in the Climb Online office debating whether it’s the worst advert of all time or a pre-meditated marketing stunt.

In case you haven’t been on the internet in the last week (seriously where have you been?) the advert featured Keeping up With the Kardashians star and model Kendall Jenner leaving a photo shoot to join a policed protest. She casually walks to a police office and hands him a can of Pepsi and proceeds to cheers.

Let’s explore the digital impact

The advert was quickly criticised on social media and Pepsi quickly began trending. Pepsi’s mentions were up 7,000% according to The Drum, furthermore, the ad saw 427,000 mentions of Pepsi on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Within 48 hours the video got nearly 1.6 million views on YouTube (five times as many downvotes as upvotes).

Pepsi posted a statement on their website highlighting that they didn’t intend to make light of serious issues: "Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize.”

pic.twitter.com/I21nQl68cY

— Pepsi™ (@pepsi) April 5, 2017

Gemma Joyce, a Brandwatch social data journalist commented on the advert: "General mentions of Pepsi have rocketed 7,000%+ but sentiment towards them has plummeted with a lot of negative comments about the creators of the ad. Protest imagery, particularly given recent events, is a controversial move on Pepsi's part, and looking at the reaction from their audience it doesn't appear to have paid off."

So, the advert may have got people talking about Pepsi again but is it brand damaging beyond repair? We’ll have to see.  For now, though we’ll leave Pepsi to get back to the drawing board.

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