Baltimore Activist DeRay Mckesson Didn’t Like the New Pepsi Ad with Kendall Jenner

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Prominent Baltimore civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson has joined a chorus of new TV ad critics this week.

Mckesson on Tuesday weighed in via Twitter on a new Pepsi ad in which reality star and model Kendall Jenner sheds her blond wig, leaves her photoshoot and calms a heated demonstration by offering a cop a can of soda.

The ad, called “Live for Now Moments Anthem,” drew instant criticism for making light of America’s racial divide. It was so poorly received that Pepsi pulled it off the air and apologized. But not before Mckesson gave his verdict on Twitter.

“Pepsi, this ad is trash,” he tweeted.

The commercial appears to be depicting a protest of some kind in which people of all colors and creeds come together, drinking Pepsi while they march and flirt with each other, as if it’s a magic elixir.

Some of the images in the ad evoked a widely distributed photo of a Louisiana nurse and mother, Ieshia Evans, facing down police in Baton Rouge last year during a protest against police brutality.

Mckesson, one of the best known voices for the Black Lives Matter movement, was arrested last July during that Baton Rouge protest and spent 16 hours in jail before he was released. In a second tweet about the Pepsi ad, he brought that up.

“If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would’ve gotten arrested,” he said. “Who knew?”

Mckesson is one of thousands who took to social media to pan the Pepsi ad, calling it cringeworthy, tone deaf, gauche and tasteless. Another was Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., whose reaction was similar to Mckesson’s.

“If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi,” she tweeted.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Advertising lives in an idealized world, that’s why the liquid in toilet paper ads and diaper commercials is blue. Do you think all of those people in diabetes medicine commercials are playing kickball at picnics? It’s pretty ordinary advertising people!

  2. Do DeRay and Bernice think that all the men who take Viagra, are business owners, who take fancy vacations, have great cars, and well preserved 60-something wives who can’t wait to be taken to bed? Do they think that mothers and daughters have cheery conversations about douches? Their reactions to the advertising would suggest they have spent one too many days in TV Land.

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