Throughout the years there have been many controversial video adverts that have hit the news. We’ve picked three of the most recent disputed campaigns and had a closer look...
The Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad
Pepsi released a statement, "Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding.” Instead the advert was widely criticised for appearing to trivialise demonstrations aimed at tackling social justice causes, suggesting that protesters and police would get along better if the former were kinder and being insensitive with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement. Among those mocking the advert was Bernice King, who tweeted a photo of her father, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, being confronted by a police officer at a protest march. "If only Daddy would have known about the power of Pepsi," the tweet said. This wasn’t the first time PepsiCo have had to backpedal though, as it pulled an advert for ‘Mountain Dew’ in 2013, after it was criticised for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence towards women.
Lush “Spy Cops” Campaign
The company started the campaign to draw attention to the "small and secretive subset of undercover policing that undermines and threatens the very idea of democracy". The company dropped the campaign after some members of the public claimed it to amount to an attack on the police. The company then added that they “fully support [police] in having proper police numbers, correctly funded to fight crime, violence and to be there to serve the public at our times of need”. However, Lush’s twitter had a 2321% increase in twitter mentions after the campaign was launched and for the duration of the campaign, sales were up by 14%. So, we have to question, was this a tactical move from Lush’s marketing team who don’t agree with advertising?
Gillette “The Best Men Can Be” Campaign
The company plays on their famous slogan "The best a man can get", replacing it with "The best men can be", before showing images of bullying, sexual harassment, sexist behaviour and aggressive male behaviour. It then shows examples of more positive behaviour - such as stepping into prevent these behaviours when they happen in public. "In less than two minutes you managed to alienate your biggest sales group for your products. Well done," wrote one angry viewer. Whilst another said the ad was “feminist propaganda”. But the brand believes the new advert aligns with its slogan and says it believes in "the best in men." "By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behaviour, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal 'best,' we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come," says its president, Gary Coombe.
But as the old saying goes “All publicity is good publicity”. The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. So, despite these being fairly controversial videos we are still talking about them today, so they must be doing something right!
Do you agree that “All publicity is good publicity” or do you believe that these controversial video campaigns have negatively impacted these businesses?