The Internet has been abuzz about the Pepsi Max commercial that aired during Sunday’s SuperBowl. Unfortunately, for Pepsi the conversation about the product hasn’t been so favorable. The commercial, in which a black woman is depicted slamming her husband’s head into the counter, smashing soap into his mouth and a host of other unflattering portrayals, has generated a ton of backlash for the company.
PepsiCo clearly did not enlist the help of a reputable multicultural advertising agency when creating this commercial. Had they done so, they might not have made the mistake of portraying such an “angry black woman” who victimized the innocent blonde. This is a perfect example of the mistake that some brands make, assuming that by simple adding people of color to a commercial, that the message will automatically resonate and appeal to other races. There are cultural contexts to be considered and this is obviously something that Pepsi did not do.
Who knows what the long-term effects of this commercial will be on Pepsi’s brand, but for now in the short-term, things aren’t looking so good.