About the Colony

Major flap over Pepsi ad was unwarranted

Lon Allan
Lon Allan jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

As hard as I try, I can’t seem to understand the big flap over the Pepsi ad that the beverage company pulled from the air last week. I think I saw it on about three news shows in pieces.

The ad shows Kendall Jenner, a member of the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” reality TV family, stepping away from one activity to mix in with a group of protestors. Shortly thereafter, she walks over and hands a police officer a can of Pepsi. The officer takes a sip.

Critics say showing the woman giving the policeman a sip of soda too closely resembles a real life protest scene last year and, as a result, trivialized the widespread protests against the killings of black people by police. Every time I saw the ad on the news, reference was made to the Black Lives Matter protester Ieshia Evans approaching an officer at a demonstration in Baton Rouge last year.

I say, come on folks, it’s only a TV commercial.

TV commercials at their very best are trivial and not to be taken seriously, except coffee commercials. I can’t watch any coffee commercial without getting up and heating up the cold coffee from the morning brew in the microwave.

There are too many people with too much time on their hands and those hands are holding cellphones, which put like minds together into a mindless flurry of misinformation and baseless hysteria. I say too many people can be whipped into a fury these days — and that is not good for any of us.

Everyone is angry at someone or some cause which, thanks to the convenience of social media, draws in the TV networks who, because they have to fill so much air time, give legitimacy to the insaneness.

Where was the outrage over the distasteful TV ads of a woman wearing a bikini downing an overly juicy hamburger in a Carl’s Jr. ad a couple years ago? Where is the outrage of the incessant drug commercials for everything from sexual dysfunction to restless leg syndrome that we’re supposed to ask our doctors about?

Pepsi issued a statement carried in The Tribune last week stating that it was simply trying to project a global message of “unity, peace and understanding.” When I saw the commercial, that’s the message I saw.

There is plenty of blame to go around regarding the incidents leading to protests and riots which seem to erupt at a moment’s notice, from women’s issues to wage and working conditions to police incidents where things sometimes go bad. I would maintain it is the exception and not the rule.

Pepsi said, “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.”

That’s good enough for me.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 805-466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.