Pepsi got a lot of backlash this week for a tone-deaf commercial starring Kendall Jenner (of the Kardashian Klan) in an attempt to use images of protestors — their cause is unnamed, but it could be either Black Lives Matter or #Resistance — to sell soda. Similarly, Nivea has had to pull an ad featuring the phrase “White Is Purity” after it was accused of racial insensitivity.
In both cases, I’m sure the agencies that created them thought they were following orders to create some viral buzz on social media, but the reaction wasn’t what they hoped it would be, to their great surprise.
Both cases beg the question of why executives at the agency or the corporate level okayed the ads. Is there no one in-house who raised their hand and said, “Um, this is a very bad idea”?