Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (March 31 – April 7): Pepsi Edition

April 7, 2017

This is it. A number of you had messaged us about what we were going to say about the infamous Pepsi ad that came out this week-and now we’re here to talk. Because this spot sparked some of the biggest discussions in advertising, we decided to dedicate this weekly recap to talk solely about Pepsi’s extremely controversial advertisement that the brand has now officially pulled. Here are our thoughts. If you have yet to see the actual video, have a look first.


M: Is this the worst advertisement ever? I’m just going to dive right into this. It’s hard to pin point where this went wrong. Was it when they chose to trivialize actual social issues? Was it when they chose Kendall Jenner to be the hero? Was it when they decided that Pepsi heals all wounds? I don’t know, but these factors combined definitely make this one of the worst advertisements I’ve ever seen. As someone who works in advertising, I know that coming up with a creative concept to sell through usually takes multiple versions, with revisions, etc. An initial idea or concept rarely ever gets client approval right on the spot. So it makes me wonder what the process of approval was for this spot?

Me watching the spot

I find it incredibly hard to believe (especially considering the immense amount of backlash) that not one person on that marketing board had stood up and said “hey guys, don’t you see how this could go very, very…very bad?”.  With a company as big as Pepsi, and the logistics behind all of it, how did no one see that this was a horrible idea from the start? Pepsi will ultimately have to regroup on their advertising and marketing processes after this. It truly starts within.

D: Ladies and gentleman, this..this is why you have advertising agencies. This spot was created by PepsiCo’s internal team, and not to say this is the reason it failed, but this shouldn’t go unnoticed. Brands as big as Pepsi need that outside voice that is able to say “No” in a meeting. My guess? There were a few junior members of the PepsiCo team that knew this was not the proper way to “reach millennials”, but didn’t have a say in the matter. Pepsi is a brand that has done a great job in the past connecting to the culture by using figures such as Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, and Beyonce. However, to quote the brand itself, they “missed the mark” with this one.

If I’m being honest, moments like these excite me. Crisis management is such an important skill and also opportunity for a brand. Not to say you should aim for a crisis, but this is truly going to test the strength of Pepsi as a brand. I wouldn’t put it past Coca-Cola to capitalize on this soon either. Now the one thing Pepsi did well is unite the Internet. Check out a couple of our favourite tweets below:


That is our recap of the week! We believe it was important to talk about Pepsi from an advertising perspective. This was an ad that truly upset a huge amount of people and that cannot go unnoticed. It will be interesting to watch if people still care in a couple of weeks. By then, who knows what mistake a brand will make next. As always, be sure to follow The MAD Mix on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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