The backlash to the now infamous, recent Pepsi-Kardashian ad-venture was both swift and harsh, forcing Pepsi to quickly pull the ad and offer an apology. According to a story in The Guardian,
Pepsi has withdrawn and apologized for a new ad campaign featuring Kendall Jenner, after the company faced a backlash for a video that co-opted the imagery of protest movements to sell soda.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said in a statement to the Associated Press. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.”
Fancying myself a celebrity media critic is quite the lift for someone who doesn’t own a television. I suppose that makes the venture all the more interesting, thinking that if the absurdity finds its way to my attention it must be ridiculous enough to cover. With that measure in mind, I can’t think of a topic more worthy of celebrity term limit honor than the national virus that is the collective Kardashian clan and their societal spillings.
While the Pepsi-Kardashian affair rates high on the tone-deaf-o-meter, it can also provide a silver lining, if it hastens the decline of celebrity endorsements from product advertisements to political campaigns. You certainly don’t have to dig far into Google (or in actual memory) to find flop in the cavalcade of celebrities publicly supporting Hillary Clinton. That’s because, if the moral of the 2016 presidential election was a rejection of liberal elitism, nothing rubs coastal elitist wealth in your face like a super-rich celebrity telling you how to vote. According to post-election analysis of celebrity political endorsements (I kid you not) from Page Six,
It’s an old saw in conservative circles that Hollywood liberals — and, by extension, the cultural and coastal elite — are out of touch with mainstream America.
This unprecedented election proves, now more than ever, how true that is. While celebrities spoke of social issues, of preserving Obama’s legacy, of the first female president, a huge swath of America voted for one reason: rage at being left behind, economically and culturally.
That said, a semi-violent reaction to this clip makes sense.
Even celebrity reverse endorsements were a trend, as evidenced in an interview with Variety back in January in which comedian and currently important celebrity Chelsea Handler laid blame for President Trump’s victory at the feet of Family K. From the interview,
“Stop covering [Trump] so much. They were treating him as an entertainer first. It was a reality show. We’ve turned into a reality show. I blame the Kardashians, personally; the beginning of the end was the Kardashians. The way these people have blown up and don’t go away — it’s surreal.”
Celebrity opining about political celebrities, up or down, was definitely sport du jour in the 2016 little campaign of horrors.
While it’s hopeful that costly and humiliating misadventures like the Pepsi-Kardashian affair might spell the demise of celebrity endorsements, that’s probably wishful thinking, as long as celebrity worship is a cherished national pastime. And as long as we’re tethered to our televisions, the cult of celebrity will be too tempting to resist, distracting us from the slog and hopelessness of endless work and side hustles, in order to keep the celebs well-fed.
Celebrities are the problem. #TermLimits4Celebs is the solution.