Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pepsi Max: Offensive

Some people found the commercial in the above link to be offensive, however i do not believe this was the point of the commercial. I believe the point of the commercial was to get the point across that Pepsi Max has zero calories, but still taste good even though it is "healthier" than regular Pepsi. As Americans we enjoy foods and beverages that aren't particularly healthy for us, but Pepsi Max is the solution to that problem, or at least I think that is the main focus of the commercial.
Although I do not believe the primary goal of the commercial was to be subliminally offensive, I can see why some people found it to be offensive. The main cast of the commercial was an African-American family, so it could send the message that only African-Americans eat unhealthy foods which can be offensive. I also believe that the commercial can be offensive to all women not just African-American women. If you are looking at the commercial in the general view, the commercial can send the message that consuming unhealthy foods is enjoyable for men and women, or wives specifically take away that pleasure, which reinforces the stereotype that if you are a man once you are married your wife will not let you enjoy the things you used to enjoy.
The commercial also depicts the stereotype of African-American women as being "mad and angry." All African-American women don't go around kicking their husbands and pushing their husband's face into pies. While some African-American women may find this depiction offensive, others may embrace it because it asserts their power in the relationship, demonstrating that they are not inferior to their husband. This particular view however can be offensive to non African-American women because it would send the message that they are passive and inferior to their husbands.
Another aspect of the commercial that can be offensive is the end. After the wife hits the women by accident with the Pepsi can, both the husband and wife run away. This first send the message that the only thing that can unite African-Americans is committing acts of violence against white people, even though the wife did not intentionally hit the other woman with the Pepsi can. Since the can was not intentional, and the wife meant to hit her husband, what was wrong with the wife apologizing to the woman?
The commercial can be offensive to certain groups, but I do not think this is intentional. I believe the original point or message behind the commercial other than selling Pepsi Max is to focus on the American concept of enjoying something that tastes good and is still healthy since this is after all a country facing great obesity. If this is the original idea then what is wrong with an African-American family being the representation of an American family? Would it be any different if it was white couple? Would it be perceived differently if it were an interracial couple?

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