If you haven’t heard by now, PepsiCo has has killed the Mountain Dew commercials surrounding a talking goat that has beaten up a woman and was in a police lineup. The commercials have been cited as stereotyping Black males, racist and sexist. Tyler, the Creator, a 22-year-old rapper/producer (who himself is African-American) created the campaign, which included some of his music group members and friends. He has defended the commercials, denying any racism and claiming it was just supposed to be funny. According to Tyler, his friends were “basically wearing their own clothes”.
I shared the commercial around the office and here are some of the responses:
1) “Whoa… obviously they need a multicultural agency to help keep them from making stupid mistakes like that. Often clients go out looking for what they think are “more creative, cutting edge” ways of reaching the young, millennial target through music talent, without truly understanding the nuances of the audience and not having the checks and balances in place that keep them from making this kind of grievous marketing error.
Maybe not overtly RACIST, but should have taken into account that there are 4 black guys in a police line up looking stereotypically criminal. I understand this is a group but needed to include somehow a white guy(s). Also suggests the idea of a white female being beat up by a black guy (although actually beat up by the goat). Just too far…”
2) “Call me insensitive but I didn’t see the commercial as racist. I’m not saying the spot deserves an ADDY but racism—no ma’am, no sir. I think the race card is being overused—can we play another card for subpar spots that contain black people? Advertising wouldn’t be advertising without criticism. I hope the PepsiCo brand doesn’t go into “super safe” mode and deliver creative that blends in with the rest of the ad noise.”
3) “Anybody think about the Doritos goat that beat up its owner for Doritos? Yup, this is called “Biting,” pun intended.
The 4 Black males are all members of the same musical group as the “Creative” person who developed it for Mountain Dew, Tyler the Creator. Racist? That’s all about perception. Accidental racism almost always is. About perception, or lack thereof. If you don’t know the group, it looks really bad. If you know the group, it just looks like a watered down, weird version of their always-overtly-racy-purposely-offensive content.
If you think this is bad, don’t listen to eight bars of even ONE song.
My question, is why would Mountain Dew even put this in the market? They had to have known it would step on some toes. This was a marketing coup, IMHO.”
4) “I find this commercial social irresponsible. I understand that many people may know Tyler, the Creator and that he pushes the envelope, but I have no clue who he is. The campaign is in bad taste and makes light serious situations. Just reading Tyler’s Twitter was enough to make me cringe, I am not sure how Mountain Dew or PepsiCo thought it was in good taste to have this represent their brand. What was the approval process? Was a focus group used or did the company just throw the commercial online to test the waters? Taking full responsibility is not enough after the fact. Companies need to really do their due diligence before pushing a campaign such as this. To me, this shows ignorance, arrogance and bad taste, all in the name of ‘creativity’.”
You’ve heard from us. Now we want to hear from you. What are your thoughts around Mountain Dew’s campaign?