Can Controversial Advertisements Affect Customer Loyalty?

Image result for pepsiThe Social Age leaves no room for mistakes for many companies. In the past a company’s advertisement may have not reached a huge audience. However, with the magnitude and influence social media platforms provide, a company’s image can be damaged in 24 hours once backlash is picked up by consumers who slam the company immediately. These advertisements become viral and are picked up by main stream news channels and from there can affect consumers’ thoughts about the company as a whole.

Image result for kendall jenner pepsiI thought about this topic with the recent backlash that Pepsi received with their new advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner. If you’re interested in watching the commercial here is the link:

Just doing a quick search of this commercial on Google I found many articles discussing the negative thoughts surrounding this ad. Just a few of the headlines are as follows:

  • “Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial pulled from air: ‘Clearly we missed the mark’”
  • “Pepsi’s commercial falls flat – it was a marketing nightmare”
  • “Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Commercial Draws Controversy”
  • “Pepsi destroyed for Kendall Jenner Protest Commercial”

As you can tell Pepsi is now facing a social media nightmare, and will most likely be doing damage control in the coming weeks. Understanding your audience is a key element to success for many companies. Most likely Pepsi will not just be receiving negative feedback from customers, but also take a hit financially. This much negativity allows a consumer to question their loyalty to this brand.

How to Recover From Social Media Fails” by Dominique Jackson lists some keys for companies to follow when faced with backlash from consumers:

Image result for social media recovery

  1. Fix the problem
  1. Act Quickly
  1. Admit you made a mistake
  1. Don’t become defensive
  1. Put procedures in place to prevent a repeat

Recovering from a social media nightmare can be difficult for companies, but following some of these tips will allow the company to fix their image more quickly. Pepsi is not the only company that faces this current issue, and definitely will not be the last to deal with damage control. However, brand loyalty is what makes a company survive, and listening to your consumer is key to fixing a mistake.


How do you feel about this recent Pepsi advertisement? Are you more or less likely to purchase this brand product? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: Pepsi

Photo Credit: Pepsi Commercial

Photo Credit: Social Media



  1. Jamie Smith

    Brittney, this Pepsi commercial debacle was interesting to read about. I had not seen the commercial prior and as I watched it the message was very unclear. It seemed more like a Kendall Jenner ad…or maybe a Levi’s ad since she was wearing all demin! You provided some great tips on what to do if you’re caught in your own marketing backlask.


    • Brittney Sly

      Hi Jamie! Thanks for your comment about this ad. I was also initially confused at the what the exact message was as well, until researching online. Pepsi will have some work to do recovering from the backlash.


  2. Pingback: United Airlines: Customer Service and PR Crisis | Brittney Sly

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