When Activism in Advertising goes Wrong

Rebecca Nicholson wrote an article summarizing the art of activism in advertising as a response after Pepsi pulled out its ad campaign less than 24 hours after its release. In the ad, Kendall Jenner joins a protest which catches her eye while she was doing a photo shoot. She walks with the people to the front line and hands over a Pepsi to a police officer and suddenly everything seems peaceful and the cause is a success. These sorts of campaigns have been rampantly used that Strawberry Frog, a cultural movement agency coins the term “movement marketing”. Big companies use this method of marketing as it appeals to the people, showing that they care for the same cause as its consumers. When done correctly, it can be a marketing success like the iconic “Pepsi Generation” slogan or the “I’d like to Buy the World a Coke” ad. However, with the rising use of the internet and social media, consumers can now give feedback instantly and that tool can backfire for these types of campaign. The Pepsi ad which was recently taken down had #boycottpepsi trending and created a backlash for the message it was sending or for the lack thereof. Another campaign which was taken down recently was the “white purity” ad by Nivea. Although its intent was innocent, social media users were quick to call the ad racist and promoting white supremacy. Despite it all, I still think that movement marketing will be continually utilized in the future.