Pepsi pulls controversial advert – and apologises to Kendall Jenner

"Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise..."

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Pepsi has removed its controversial new advert featuring reality star Kendall Jenner after a considerable backlash.

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In a statement, the drinks makers said it was “trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding” with the advert, which sees model Jenner abandon her photoshoot to join a generic protest march before offering a can of Pepsi to an officer who is part of a police cordon. 

Many have accused the 8-minute-long ad of trivialising recent street protests across the US, manipulating the current political division for commercial gain and taking a tone-deaf approach to police brutality.

“Clearly we missed the mark and we apologise,” said Pepsi. “We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.” 

Before the outcry, Jenner released a statement giving Pepsi her backing, and saying the soft drink shared “a voice with the generation of today”. 

“To me, Pepsi is more than just a beverage – it registers as a pop culture icon and a lifestyle that shares a voice with the generation of today,” Jenner said. “The spirit of Pepsi – living in the ‘now’ moment – is one that I believe in. I make a conscious effort in my everyday life and travels to enjoy every experience of today.”

She has not commented since and has deleted her tweet initially pointing people towards the ad.

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Still not sure why everyone’s cringing at the ad? Here’s our full explainer.