Retail Therapy: Pepsi — not the taste of the protest generation
The brand was mauled on social media for the ad, which suggested its namesake soda could bring peace, love and unity in the wake of protests against the killings of black people by police.
It's been yet another weird week in retail: Pepsi's latest ad fell flat on its face, Crocs is attempting a comeback and Jet got creative in showing us what the gender wage gap looks like.
This, and more, in this week's Retail Therapy.
Pepsi calls off protest
This week, Pepsi fell flat with an ill-conceived attempt to simultaneously promote its namesake soda and a message of unity in the wake of protests against the killings of black people by police over the last several years. Part of its "Live for Now" campaign, the brand's ad, starring reality TV celebrity and model Kendall Jenner, was not well-received... to say the least.
In the two-and-a-half minute “short film,” Jenner is seen dramatically tossing off a wig and leaving a photo shoot after locking eyes with a beanie-wearing cellist marching in a protest. With a sea of generically inoffensive protest signs behind her, Jenner gives a fellow protestor a fist bump and then hands an ice-cold Pepsi to a police officer. He smiles and the crowd cheers. All is suddenly right in the world.
But all was not right on social media. Many on the internet took issue with Pepsi’s romanticized depiction of happy-go-lucky protest culture, mocking its tone-deaf message that protests like Black Lives Matter would have been successful if only someone had thought to bring a soda — Pepsi, to be specific.
The viral video, which garnered millions of views, was widely scoffed at on social media, from Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice A. King — who sarcastically tweeted “If only Daddy would have known about the power of Pepsi” — to The Late Show host Stephen Colbert — who described the ad as a protest for “Attractive Lives Matter.”
I've been studying commercials for 30 years. Kendall's Pepsi ad is legitimately the worst one I've ever seen.— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) April 4, 2017
Pepsi responded to the criticism by apologizing (oddly enough, mostly to Kendall Jenner) and pulling the ad. It’s unclear whether the brand will try again to hit the target with its “Live for Now” campaign... but it seems pretty certain that its marketing department should take the campaign's message to heart.
Jet slices up equal pay problem
This Tuesday, April 4 was Equal Pay Day, the day when a woman's pay catches up with a man's — because women on average earn 79 cents for every dollar men make, women have to work a full year and then until April of the next to make up the difference.
In order to raise awareness about the gender pay gap, Wal-Mart-owned Jet released a rather unusual video showing shoppers that 79% isn't good enough to make things work: Jet employees took to Facebook Live to film themselves sawing off 21% of products, such as a smartphone, a bottle of shaving cream, a frying pan, a tube of toothpaste, an alarm clock and a flat screen TV. Missing 21% of something sure seems pretty significant when the corner of your TV is missing.
One employee in the video quipped, “We have drones delivering pizza these days but we can’t get a woman to make the same amount as a man?” I think we can all agree that's pretty ridiculous.
Sorry, Drew Barrymore, Crocs aren't cool anymore
No matter how much you try, one hit wonders aren't meant to make comebacks. Take Devo’s 1980’s classic Whip it, '90s bowl haircuts or the gaucho pants of the 2000s for example.
Nevertheless, Crocs is trying to make its Swiss cheese foam shoes as cool as they were in 2007, and it's betting that Drew Barrymore can spice up its image. This week, the former “it” brand and now-struggling retailer launched a 30-second video asking shoppers to "come as you are" ... just preferably in Crocs.
Sally the salad robot
In the age of convenience, consumers now have seemingly infinite options for quick meals that don’t require any work — or even talking to an actual human.
Now there’s Sally the Salad Robot. This week, Chowbotics tossed up a device that allows consumers to order on-demand, customized salads with fresh ingredients from a salad-making robot. In an infomercial-like video showing the service in use, a woman dramatically throws a prepackaged salad in slow motion over her shoulder in favor of testing out Sally. I guess there's a robot for everything these days.
Follow Corinne Ruff on Twitter