Pepsi's Kendall Jenner AD: Communication Gone Wrong

Why Pepsi's Ad Featuring Kendall Jenner Missed

In the fast-paced world of marketing, effective communication is the key to success. However, there are times when even the most well-intentioned campaigns can go awry. One such example is the infamous Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner or the Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner AD: Communication Gone Wrong. In this blog post, we will delve into the communication failures behind this controversial campaign, analyzing the process of developing effective communications, the merits and demerits of celebrity endorsements, and the impact of this brand crisis on Pepsi. 

About PepsiCo:

Before we dive into the Kendall Jenner ad, let’s take a moment to understand the company behind it. PepsiCo is a global food and beverage giant, known for its iconic soft drink brand, Pepsi. With a rich history and a strong presence in the market, PepsiCo has always strived to connect with its target audience through creative and engaging advertising campaigns.

Live for Now:

The Kendall Jenner ad, titled “Live for Now,” aimed to capture the spirit of unity and activism among the younger generation. It depicted a protest scene where Jenner hands a can of Pepsi to a police officer, seemingly resolving tensions and bringing people together. However, the ad faced severe backlash for trivializing real social issues and appropriating the struggles of marginalized communities.

The Response:

Following the release of the ad, public outrage was swift and widespread. Social media platforms were flooded with criticism, accusing Pepsi of insensitivity and exploitation. Celebrities, activists, and consumers alike expressed their disappointment, calling for a boycott of the brand. PepsiCo found itself in the midst of a full-blown crisis, and a prompt response was crucial to mitigate the damage.

What Went Wrong?

The Kendall Jenner ad failed on multiple levels. Firstly, the concept of using a celebrity endorsement to address serious social issues was misguided. While celebrity endorsements can be effective, they need to align with the brand’s values and resonate with the audience. In this case, the attempt to capitalize on activism backfired, as it came across as superficial and tone-deaf. Moreover, the lack of diversity and representation in the ad further fueled the backlash. It failed to acknowledge the realities and struggles of marginalized communities, reducing complex issues to a mere prop for commercial gain. The ad lacked authenticity and failed to connect with the target audience on an emotional level.


The fallout from the Kendall Jenner ad was significant. PepsiCo faced a major blow to its reputation, with consumers questioning the company’s values and commitment to social responsibility. The brand’s sales were affected, and it took considerable time and effort to regain consumer trust. This incident highlighted the importance of understanding the cultural climate and being sensitive to social issues when crafting advertising campaigns. Also check out Zara’s Logo Redesign: A Bold Step into the Future?