PepsiCo is still in an uphill battle to recover from their marketing mistake, regardless of pulling their Kendall Jenner Controversial Ad.
Professionals say the soda pop giant was trying to be trendy by mixing their brand with the racial protests. However, the ad came off as insensitive and not authentic. Regardless, they expect PepsiCo to recover from the criticism, even though they still have long-term marketing issues to resolve.
A Principal at 2050 Marketing, Mike Jackson, says Pepsi has completely lost their way and seem unfocused in their marketing strategy.
Wednesday, Pepsi pulled the ad and sent out a statement that they were trying to embrace a global message of peace, understanding, and unity. They apologized saying that they clearly missed their target and didn’t mean to bring light to any significant issues. They also apologized for putting Kendall Jenner in the spotlight with these problems.
Pepsi has been struggling in recent years as customers seek healthier snacks and beverages. They have also been set back by their lack of international exposure compared to their rival, Coca-Cola.
A CNBC official who was working at Pepsi in the 80’s, Jackson, says the company has changed marketing agencies in recent years. Now they seem to be working with an in-house studio, who is thought to have made this ad.
The ad shows Kendall Jenner at a photo shoot, then joining protesters and goes up to a cop with a can of Pepsi.
Jackson says having Jenner in a Black Lives Matter protest is almost comical. Experts also add that the protesters holding signs with the Pepsi logo relate to police shootings and the entire movement.
Because Pepsi isn’t the brand leader in their market, they did have to take more of a risk. They were trying to be relevant and edgy by relating the brand to recent social events, but they missed it.
Jackson explains it wasn’t always a struggle for Pepsi though. in the 1980’s they were very successful by campaigning with Michael Jackson and Madonna. Their relation to pop culture made the brand even more popular. So Jackson is confident that Pepsi will make a comeback.
San Diego State University Professor of Marketing, Michael Belch, says he believes Pepsi was just trying to encourage people to come together with this ad. He doesn’t blame Pepsi, but he also says they shouldn’t have put the ad out without a trial period first. He does blame them for not checking the impact the ad made to consumers before making it public.
Some of the backlashes are towards Jenner, while others blame PepsiCo alone.