Earlier this week, Kendall Jenner and Pepsi found themselves at the centre of a huge controversy. The young model collaborated with the soft drinks corporation on a new advertisement which depicted Jenner leaving a photo shoot to participate in a protest rally. Showing a stunning lack of self-awareness, the climax of the video shows Jenner defusing the tension in the crowd by handing one of the riot police a can of Pepsi, which is followed by cheers, jubilation and presumably world peace. The ad was pulled almost immediately following an intense and understandable backlash.
How did that not got veto’d at any stage of its production?! We’ll never know and I’m sure a few heads have rolled as a result. Here are a few more adverts that should never have made it off the cutting room floor. In Jenner’s defense, you could say her Pepsi ad was misguided but with good intentions. The following are much, much worse but received less publicity because they didn’t involve a Kardashian, and that is now, unfortunately, how the world works.
This one is as good a place to start as any. In a bid to encourage people to consume their product, the margarine manufacturer Flora rolled out an advertisement which equated a guy coming out to his father as being similar to him shooting him in the heart. I’m not joking. For added effect, the words are a bullet and the heart is made of china. This was in 2013. I give up. Unsurprisingly, the ad did not last very long.
This one is probably my favourite, if I can call it that. All these advertisements are callous, stupid and offensive but this one is just so off the mark it’s untrue. Hyundai, in an attempt to advertise that fact that their iX35 model had 100% water emmissions, showed a man unsuccessfully trying to commit suicide in his garage. This was also in 2013, quite clearly a terrible, terrible year for common sense. This one takes the biscuit for me personally because, in promoting that their car is eco-friendly, they’re overtly expressing the fact that they are socially aware while simultaneously displaying the fact that they are insensitive morons. Top work.
So we’ve had homophobia and the trivialising of suicide. Next on our tour of” Things You Shouldn’t Try to Sell Your Product to People With” is racism. I’m all for giving the benefit of the doubt when it comes to cultural differences but come on, China. This is not okay. It also happened within the last year.
Yes, she did just wash a black man until he was white. Qiaobi, the detergent manufacturer responsible for this monstrosity, apologised and tried to erase it from the internet, which as we all know is impossible. On a sidenote, how desperate for cash must that actor have been?!
And the final installment in our smorgasbord of offensive ads is, of course, sexism. This one is close to home, as Hunky Dory inexplicably tried to make crisps sexy in 2011 and were shot down by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland following numerous complaints. Don Draper has a lot to answer for.