Ad Teardown: Live for Now Moments Anthem | Pepsi

Pepsi’s missed opportunity to create a genuine emotional connection… or a regular soda ad

kendallJennerPepsiAd.jpeg

Ad Details

Producer: Pepsi
Runtime: 2:40 Seconds
Published: Apr 2017
Price tag: An estimated $2–5M + Distribution and PR cost


Let’s talk about the biggest advertising elephant in the room this year: Pepsi’s Live For Now “short film” ad featuring Kendall Jenner.

Published back in April 2017, the ad was pulled by the soda giant within 48 hours of airing for the first time.

Here’s the full commercial

The ad, featuring the reality TV/model as a protagonist, failed to connect with the general public, to put it mildly. In fact, the masses accused Pepsi of being tone-deaf and casually injecting their product as a solution to serious social issues affecting our society.

Pepsi quickly responded with an apology and pulled the ad from further distribution.

Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.
– Pepsi

But the damage was done. Just like that, the brand presented itself in a negative light and further removed themselves from the very audience they attempted to represent.

So what exactly happened? How can an ad intended to spread a message of peace, according to Pepsi, miss the mark by such a degree? We’ll hold our opinion and look at the data collected by running an audience test using our US Millennial panel.

 At first glance, nothing seems out of the ordinary

At first glance, nothing seems out of the ordinary

Test Results

Once we closed the test, we took a look at the data and, for the most part, nothing seemed out of the ordinary:

  • Predominant emotion evoked: 😂 Joy
  • Audience engagement: 👀 71% (a bit lower than other ads we’ve tested)
  • Most emotionally engaged audience: 🌎 White | Male
 Key frames where engagement and emotions evoked were at the highest — Specifically Joy 😂in this case.

Key frames where engagement and emotions evoked were at the highest — Specifically Joy 😂in this case.

Key Moments

  • 0:44 secs: Young Asian guy takes a sip of his Pepsi.
  • 1:30 secs: The ongoing protest taking place outside catches Kendall Jenner’s attention and distracts her from her photo shoot.
  • 2:24: Everyone rejoices after a Police Officer takes a sip of the Pepsi can Kendall Jenner offered him…

HOWEVER…

Upon closer inspection of the data, we reveal a different story. We filtered the data by the reaction from African-American participants.

 Emotions evoked over time filtered by African-American reactions

Emotions evoked over time filtered by African-American reactions

  • Predominant emotion evoked: 😔 Sadness
  • Audience engagement: 👀 34% A massive drop compared to the overall
 This looks radically different…

This looks radically different…

Key Moments

  • 1:43 secs: A line of Police Officers in riot gear stand in front of the protesting crowd.
  • 1:54 secs: Kendall Jenner is celebrated by the protesting crowd as she grabs a Pepsi can and walks towards the Police Officers.
  • 2:24: Everyone rejoices after a Police Officer takes a sip of the Pepsi can Kendall Jenner offered him… Yes, same frame, opposite reaction.

Qualitative Data

What did viewers like the most about the ad?

  • The music

What were viewers most critical of?

  • This one is hard to answer, but here are some relevant tweets.

 

Learn how your company can avoid the risk of public backlash by testing with a diverse panel of viewers during the video creation process.

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