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Does Pepsi Max Superbowl Ad Project Racial Stereotypes? [VIDEO]

Among all the Superbowl commercial hype, one particular advertisement has caused quite the internet conversation. Pepsi Max released a commercial featuring an African American couple that many believe played in to the unfair racial stereotypes of our society.

As someone who aspires to work in promotion or advertising, I spent Monday morning researching public reaction to the commercials and was surprised to find many people attacking Pepsi. During an interview on msnbc.com Jet Magazine columnist and author of Black Women Redefined, Sophia Nelson expressed her discontent with the ad. She felt Pepsi was wrong in their projection of not only the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype, but also the ‘ ditsy blonde white woman’ featured at the end of the commercial. In the interview, she explains her perception that as a black woman, these stereotypes carry into everyday life, and feels it is not a positive representation.

Pepsi responded to the negativity by saying “We vetted this ad with our external ethnic advisory board as well as nationally recognized community activists and leaders all of whom believed the ad highlights the key product attributes in a humorous way.”

In this case I would side with Pepsi. I don’t believe there was any real negative suggestions made about either African Americans or Caucasians, and the races were portrayed in that way for humor purposes, not with malicious intent. Whether people agree or not our society has created stereotypes and often times advertisers may play on those roles to make their ads relatable. Would the criticism be the same if the woman threw the Pepsi can at another black woman?

What do you think? Regardless of your own ethnicity, do you think the commercial is an unfair representation?  Does this commercial, or any ad you can think of really have an effect on how you interact with people in the real world?

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