Pepsi made the headlines for the wrong reasons this week with the release and then immediate withdrawal of its ‘Kendall Jenner defuses a protest march and helps save the planet with a can of Pepsi’ commercial. The ad was widely, and rightly in my opinion, vilified. Some example points of view on it can be found here and here.
Looking at it solely from a marketing communications perspective, and forgetting for a moment the utterly hackneyed nature of the ad’s visual treatment (e.g. perfectly-coiffured protesters waving ‘join the conversation’ placards), it provided another helpful reminder to brands to think very carefully before jumping onto political bandwagons for PR or commercial gain. I admire brands that take corporate social responsibility seriously and that make a commitment to taking a stand on certain issues, but actions speak louder than words on that front – and I believe that our primary goal as brands and marketers is not to preach, but to drive sales by actually enriching the lives of our customers. We should never take our eyes off that core marketing function.
Anyway, while I don’t think that jumping on political bandwagons is a good idea, I’d have been fascinated if another brand (e.g. coca cola) had taken the opportunity to make fun at Pepsi’s expense. Take dyson, for example 😉
Just an idea.