When Pepsi released its astonishingly tone-deaf protest-themed ad earlier this week, there was a single question on everyone’s mind: How on earth did that ad get made?
Dozens of people have to sign off on a massive, multimillion-dollar ad campaign for a giant global brand. How could they all have thought it was a good idea to suggest that the key to ending police brutality is to present the cops with soda? How did no one suggest that it might not be great to appropriate the Black Lives Matter movement so crassly and with such little grace?
I myself theorized that the ad was the brainchild of Don Draper’s grandson Ron, but SNL has another, possibly more plausible theory: The ad was created by a well-meaning clueless white dude who simply never ran the idea by anyone else until after production had begun.
In the sketch, Beck Bennett’s Pepsi Ad Guy starts enthusiastically explaining the idea to his friend over the phone:
And so everybody is marching, right? And they can see police officers, and they think it's gonna go bad because there's kind of, like, a standoff. And then Kendall Jenner walks in, and she walks up to one of the police officers, and she hands him a Pepsi. And then that Pepsi brings everybody together. Isn't that, like, the best ad ever?
We don’t hear the friend’s response, but Pepsi Ad Guy’s face, slowly deflating in a long silent shot, says it all: He’s hearing everything that Twitter said about that ad on Tuesday night, but in person.
“I think maybe you just don’t you get it,” Pepsi Ad Guy says defensively, but after he checks in with another friend and a random black lady, it becomes clear that there’s only one course of action left for any sane person. He runs for it.