Pepsi’s most recent advertising ploy has made headlines for the past couple of weeks. Using Kendall Jenner — a model who has done no actual work or activism regarding social justice — as the face of their product in an ad deliberately using protests as an attempt to appeal to the resistance is both morally wrong and extremely offensive. Even though Pepsi is by no means the only company guilty of using social justice in their marketing tactics, this ever-growing trend of abusing activism for companies’ personal gain needs to be called out and stopped.
The soda company’s first mistake was hiring a spokesperson who has never taken an actual stance on social justice issues and who is unmistakably privileged. To then scatter several stereotyped minorities across the ad was blatantly offensive and racist. One Muslim woman wearing a hijab was meant to specifically stand out amongst the crowd as she took pictures and went on to look in awe at Jenner’s brave act of handing a Pepsi to a cop. The audience is meant to interpret that this unnamed woman is being used as a clear message of defiance solely for the way she is dressed. But this tactic is problematic because it reduces her solely to a figurine rather than an actual person. (Washington Square News)