As many of you are probably aware, Pepsi’s controversial ad with Kendall Jenner sparked a huge backlash after being accused of using the Black Lives Matter movement (or any protest movement for that matter) to promote soda.
The tone-deaf ad seemed to give the impression that racism is something trivial enough to be resolved by sharing a can of Pepsi. I can imagine one of Pepsi’s marketing executives suggesting, “Protests are so hot right now so we might as well ride on its wave” a.k.a. to promulgate capitalist interests, yeah?
Wanting to recreate the absurdity of the failed Kendal Jenner Pepsi protest ad, on May 1, 2017, Ian Toribio offered a can of Pepsi to two police officers in the middle of Labor Day marches and rallies in Manila.
The Labor Day marches, in part, demanded an end to contractualization, which keeps many workers as minimum-wage earners, as they are hired on a per-contract basis and not allowed government-mandated benefits such as paid leaves, bonuses, and, in many cases, even health benefits. In addition, because contractualized workers are not regular employees, they have no job security, as business-owners can easily terminate their employment at the end of their contract.
While Toribio’s intent was to add a humorous edge to Labor Day celebrations, it was only fitting that the two police officers refused his can of Pepsi, as if to symbolize how often the state is resistant to any demands of reform in favor of lower-income communities and the working class.
Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad Labor Day Version
No, offering a Pepsi won’t cut it. Not for ending racism and police brutality or for putting an end to unjust and unfair labor practices.
During the 1986 Revolution, photos of civilians giving flowers to soldiers highlighted the power and success of non-violent resistance. A can of diabetes just doesn’t seem to have the same effect.