Pepsi advert with Kendall Jenner pulled after huge backlash

Christopher Hooton, Tom Batchelor

Pepsi has bowed to pressure and is “pulling” its controversial advert featuring Kendall Jenner at a protest.

The video has been removed from YouTube and in a statement, the company said: "Pepsi was trying to project a global a message of unity, peace and understanding.

"Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue.

"We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position."

Jenner has yet to respond to the backlash on Twitter or Instagram.

The advert was widely criticised for appearing to trivialise demonstrations aimed at tackling social justice causes, suggesting that protestors and police would get along better if the former were kinder and being insensitive with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jenner, a high-profile member of the celebrity Kardashian family, is shown in the advert stepping away from a modeling shoot to join a crowd of young, diverse protesters.

The protesters cheer after she hands a can of Pepsi to a police officer, who takes a sip and smiles at his colleague.

Among those mocking the advert was Bernice King, who tweeted a photo of her father, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, being confronted by a police officer at a protest march.

"If only Daddy would have known about the power of Pepsi," the tweet said.

Larry Chiagouris, a professor of marketing at Pace University, said that the backlash was in part because Pepsi was a couple of years "late to the party" with its message about unity, making its ad seem exploitive.

It isn't the first time PepsiCo has backpedalled and apologised for an advert.

In 2013, it pulled an advert for the soft drink Mountain Dew that was criticised for portraying racial stereotypes and appearing to make light of violence toward women.

You can read our scene-by-scene review of the advert here.

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