Pepsi is pulling its new ad campaign starring Kendall Jenner, which has been widely criticized for co-opting protest culture and social movements such as Black Lives Matter to sell their soft drinks.
This isn’t the first time that a major company has misfired with a new ad campaign, and it won’t be the last. “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” they said in a statement released Wednesday. So why didn’t Pepsi anticipate the negative reaction to their ad?
One reason might be that the company lacked insight into their audience. It is clear that ad agencies and their clients need more tools to vet their content with audiences before campaigns are launched. By testing ads with a wider range of consumers, agencies can help brands more accurately gauge public sentiment ahead of time, before they spend a lot of money placing a campaign that could ultimately flop or even hurt their image.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of companies providing advertisers and content creators with an easy way to use modern testing methods. In-person focus groups are costly and time consuming, and it can be difficult to find a diverse set of test participants with the right demographic make-up.
Pilotly is a research platform that can securely screen content to any target audience to rapidly gather feedback. It’s the most cost-effective way to conduct robust viewer studies online. Content creators can use our versatile dashboard to gain instant feedback and analyze thousands of data points with incredible accuracy.
If Pepsi’s ad team had used a platform like Pilotly to vet their ad campaign beforehand, they would have been able to filter audience feedback from minority participants. They would have known that their ad would offend people who thought the ad was making light of recent protest movements, and they would have been able to make adjustments before releasing the ad to the public.
Brands cannot afford to make preventable mistakes that will negatively impact their image, especially in the age of social media. We hope that in the future, Pilotly can help more companies do a better job of developing advertising content that resonates positively with audiences.