Just when you think pop culture can’t descend any lower.
I’m guessing Don Draper would not have approved the above ad, even after the heaviest of all-nighter Seagram V.O. benders with Roger Sterling. Here’s James Lileks’ take, beginning with a link to a New York Post article on the commercial, the very definition of ill-conceived:
What is wrong with these people?
PepsiCo is once again learning the risks of celebrity partnerships after an ad for Mountain Dew was criticized for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence toward women. The soda and snack food company said it immediately pulled the 60-second spot after learning that people found it was offensive.
The ad was part of a series developed by African-American rapper Tyler, The Creator, and depicted a battered white woman on crutches being urged to identify a suspect out of a lineup of black men.
“For brands that are going after a young demographic, they’re always walking that fine line between getting in trouble and appealing to their audience,” said Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries, a marketing firm based in Atlanta.
Oh, such a fine line.
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If it had won awards and impressed many people with its “edgy” humor, they’d be proud to let you embed it. By all means! Yes, enjoy our sharp, brave ads – we’re always pushing the envelope, and you can help!
But they misjudged it, somehow. Really? How? Did they think the source of the idea innoculated them?
I wonder if anyone lost their job over this.
Yes, the liberal postwar overculture of the 1950s through the mid-1960s was “plastic,” as The Graduate claimed. Yes it was full of “phonies” and hypocrites as Holden C. warned. On the other hand, it had enough common sense — read, good taste — to instinctively reject a commercial such as this. Not only would it never have been aired, it would have never left the ad agency’s presentation boardroom.
But even if the above commercial wasn’t pulled by Mountain Dew — or, more conspiratorially, wasn’t designed to be deliberately banned to create that all-important “edgy” “buzz” — epater those bourgeois with that nostalgie de la boue! — what fine associations to make with your product.
However, Lileks couldn’t be more in error, when he writes, don’t bother looking for the ad on the Internet:
Pepsi went through the web and made sure it went down the memory hole. The ad no longer exists. The ad never existed. Those of us who saw it when it was permitted to be seen will be dragged screaming off to the loony bin. But it was real! There were fat white men and a line-up of frightening racial archetypes! And a talking goat! Uh huh.
Actually, the ad is all over the place. I found a copy on an Australian video aggregation Website; veteran blogger Pat Dollard has a copy; we have one above; and no doubt, so do countless others. So from that perspective, Mission Accomplished, right, Pepsi? The left-leaning Mediaite Website has a copy as well, embedded in a post titled, “Watch The Mountain Dew Ad Pulled After Critics Called It ‘Arguably The Most Racist Commercial In History.’”
But given how the left thoroughly maxed out the R-word beginning in 2008, what difference does it make to PepsiCo, to paraphrase a recent former secretary of State?