Pepsi’s CEO Says She Didn’t Know Kendall Jenner Gave a Cop a Pepsi in the Infamous Ad Until She Saw It Air

Trying to figure out where the brand went wrong

Indra Nooyi spoke to Fortune last week about Pepsi's failed ad. Getty Images
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

This past April Pepsi released one of the most reviled ads in recent memory: A two-and-a-half minute spot featuring Kendall Jenner, where the model leaves work to join what looks like a protest about something (it’s unclear), and ends with Jenner handing a cop a can of Pepsi to a roaring cheer. The message seemed to be: Drink a Pepsi for peace. Suffice to say, it was not well-received.

Last week Pepsi’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, finally commented on the ad, telling Fortune that it “made [her] scratch [her] head.”

“I’ve thought about it a lot because I looked at the ad again and again and again trying to figure out what went wrong—because it was a peace march not a protest march,” said Nooyi. “It was people in happiness coming together. I realized the scene that caused the most consternation was the final one, when Kendall Jenner gave a Pepsi to the policeman, and it linked back to Black Lives Matter.”

The spot was created by Pepsi’s in-house creative team, Creators League Studio.

Nooyi continued: “This has pained me a lot because this company is known for diversity, and the fact that everybody who produced the commercial and approved the commercial did not link it to Black Lives Matter made me scratch my head. I had not seen that scene. And I take everything personally. The minute I saw people upset, I pulled it. And you know what, it’s not worth it. There were people on both sides, but at the end of the day, our goal is not to offend anybody.”

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.