Blog Post(Module 10): MATTHEW KIM #PepsiSummer Pepsi’s New Cinnamon Pepsi Continues to Ignite Cultural Backlash


Many people were upset at the ad that Pepsi put out depicting Kendall Jenner joining a riot and handing a police officer a Pepsi can to stop the protest. With an understanding of performance in a McLuhan fashion, we can understand that the ability to perform to a larger crowd has expanded with the increasing popularity of social media in the 2000’s. Advertisers must now take refine their marketing strategies to target populations that are technologically advanced. A main idea that comes stems from Pearson’s interpretation of Goffman’s reading is that “individuals construct their identities in reaction to their cohorts. To use the language of Web 2.0, individuals construct identities relative to their networks.”(Pearson 2008). This is important to understand why individuals use social media sites and what the large companies are targeting.

What I want to look into is Pepsi’s marketing plan for their beloved soda. We have seen numerous of Pepsi ads that all serve the same purpose, to make us want to drink an ice cold Pepsi. With the season being Summer, Pepsi has carefully laid out many pictures displaying the many different ways you can drink your Pepsi, that is when you buy it. An interesting remark from Markham’s essay is the interplay of self and other. “The Internet also shifts attention toward the way the enactment of self can be edited and altered; for many users, computer-mediated communication promotes a strong sense of control, or freedom to choose how to fill in missing information for others.”(Markham 2012) Referring to the twitter post made by Pepsi previously, we see a woman seen in previous ads sitting on a Penny Board in a skate park. I believe that Pepsi purposely chose a woman, and a Penny Board, instead of a man, and a skateboard, to be inclusive. As a skateboarder, I know that Penny Boards are not skate-able anywhere in the park, and I also know that women skateboarders are less common than male skateboarders. “Pepsi on board #PepsiSummer” can mean a lot of things to various people. What I see is Pepsi making an outreach to women who find themselves secluded from real skateboarders, because in my own experience I know that riding a Penny Board is objectively different, and more relaxed than riding a skateboard. I believe that Pepsi continues to include present topics that touch many different cultural bounds to act inclusively. Like many other skateboarders alike, I was unable to fathom why Pepsi put a person on a Penny Board, because you can’t skate anything on a Penny Board, all you do is ride.

Discussion and Questions

  1. What would you reply to Pepsi’s tweet, knowing that Pepsi is trying to reach out to a more diverse demographic?
  2. What parts of skateboarding culture that you have seen are portrayed in this photo?
  3. How does this ad reinforce a user’s image of themselves? Markham’s observation that “Presentation of self is a deliberate, technical achievement” means that anything we retweet or like can be seen as “writ[ing] ourselves into being”.

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