Ads fail all the time.
In fact, ads fail more often than they succeed.
But they rarely fail as quickly and spectacularly as Pepsi’s Live for Now ad featuring Kendall Jenner.
If you haven’t heard about the ad yet, know this: within 24 hours of releasing the ad, Pepsi caved to social media pressure and pulled it. The swiftness of the company’s action belies the seriousness of the reaction from social media and the mainstream press.
An article published by Wired sums up the backlash well: “Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner Ad was So Awful It Did the Impossible: It United the Internet.”
First, it united Twitter:
I've been studying commercials for 30 years. Kendall's Pepsi ad is legitimately the worst one I've ever seen.— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) April 4, 2017
"YOU WANT DIET OR REGULAR PEPSI?" pic.twitter.com/DSEn5y5npv— MAXIIMUS (@maxcdesign) April 5, 2017
"Kendall please! Give him a Pepsi!" pic.twitter.com/pO1PTYkCHW— Antonio (@antonioscastles) April 5, 2017
Then it united the mainstream press:
With such an overwhelmingly negative response to the ad, it's easy to think that Pepsi should have seen it coming - surely focus group or survey participants would have expressed the same distaste, right?
Unfortunately, traditional ad testing solutions have historically done a poor job of predicting campaign results. Dumbstruck, on the other hand, is uniquely designed to identify exactly how viewers respond to a video ad before it is released to the public.
So we found a group of 50 people who had not yet seen the Pepsi ad, and we put our platform to the test. Our goal was to find out what would have happened if Pepsi had tested the ad before releasing it. Could we have predicted the public outcry? Would the results have been clear enough to make Pepsi rethink the ad?