Pepsi or Riot
The stance of avid internet users are usually splattered across the board bringing a divide to users of social media, but last year Pepsi released a commercial that united the internet.
The video has since been banned by Pepsi, but it can still be seen on youtube:
This ad was controversial because it took a passionate event that has caused serious injury and death, with many racial and feminist implications, and made light of the situation.
Pepsi's statement regarding the backlash was non-apologetic "'This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey,'"
People had the right to be upset as the ad showed insensitivity towards history and the fragility between protesters and officers. It provided good material for the jokers of the internet, but through each "meme" you can feel the tension rise and Pepsi's image degrade. One man's twitter post referenced the event stating it was disappointing that the ad went through so many green lights and was still published.
Pepsi, being a large company and in the public eye so heavily, has had multiple PR nightmares but this could be argued as the worst. Though they initially spoke up and attempted to defend their project before pulling the commercial, their mistake plagued the internet.
Below are some meme examples that went "viral."
When the AMVETS submitted an ad to the Superbowl, it was rejected for “political content.” The Superbowl administration came out and said they do not want to strike any controversy because the Superbowl is supposed to be for celebration and fun. I think this is complete hypocrisy! When the players take a knee to protest the anthem and our country, it’s introducing political content into the Superbowl. The AMVETS retorted that they are attempting to take a stand as well so that people support the veterans.
“Marion Polk, AMVETS national commander, wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, dated Monday, that says in part: “Freedom of speech works both ways. We respect the rights of those who choose to protest as these rights are precisely what our members have fought — and in many cases died — for. But imposing corporate censorship to deny that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.”
It is important to remember that once upon a time, the growing businesses owned the right to fairness and did not care about the little man. This was when the muckrakers took a stand and shed light on the situation. Because of freedom of press and exposure, these businesses were forced into regulation which was a huge win for the average consumer. Freedom of speech is an important part of America and the leg it was built on. For the Superbowl to approve one form of free speech, but not another, is reason for concern.
The way the PR department handled this situation in publishing an article explaining and showing the world the rejected ad was a great stand made by AMVETS. Though the ad may not be seen by as many people, their message is still getting across.
Matthew Brady and Public Relations: Civil War Death
Public Relations and photography go hand in hand in more ways than one, complimenting each other masterfully. From newspapers to billboards, words accompanied by a visual generate more interest from the public. Incidentally, the impact that photos have can be negative or positive, and greatly altar the general consensus of a situation or story. In 1862 photographer Matthew Brady, well known for his portrait of Abraham Lincoln depicted on the five dollar bill, held an exhibition showing the widespread death of soldiers in the civil war. Brady organized an event that would bring awareness to people who put the idea of death in the Civil War “out of sight, out of mind.”
"Out of Sight, Out of Mind."
Photographer Alexander Gardner was showcased, as his photos revealed the morbid nature of the war. It was said this was the first time that the war had truly been brought home and the photos were gruesome, but showed people of the true tole this war had taken. Hearing about an event and seeing the effects of it impact people in different ways and Brady wanted to drive the point home that war is tragic and takes the lives of loved ones.
Though Brady was not in the public relations business, his actions brought honesty and awareness to the public and paved the way for public relations and photography. He used photos to depict the message and his experience allowed people to experience firsthand the impact of photography on society in a provocative way. Public relations is not always a job title. There are many instances throughout history in which the art of public relations was used by simply mediating between two groups of people, posting a flyer attempting to inform the masses, preserving or retaining a positive reputation, and persuading others towards a new opinion. Throughout this blog we will discuss public relation practices starting with influential moments in history, all the way to celebrity and company cover ups occurring currently.