A few weeks ago, the executive committee here at The Ad Contrarian Global Center for Horseshit Detection coined a term - virtue hustling. We defined it as the practice by marketers of attempting to convince us barbarians of how wise and virtuous they are.
You see, these corporations are full of love for all of global humanity and treat us all with respect and reverence. Especially in their advertising. Especially if you're young and beautiful.
Pepsi, who you can always count on to jump with both feet into whatever the idiotic marketing or cultural obsession of the week is, has taken this unpleasant new gimmick to its logical absurdity.
If you haven't seen this thing yet, you're in for a treat. It is, perhaps, the worst piece of inauthentic crap I've seen in a long time. Try not to barf.
Our story so far...
...a zillionaire supermodel, responding to an entreaty by an Asian musician, fosters world peace and general elation among cheerful and beautiful young protestors of every sex and color by giving a Pepsi to a cute police officer while a tortured-artist-Muslim-photographer-woman finally gets her big shot.
However, when you decode the spot you get a whole different story -- all you people of color can prance about all you like but it takes a beautiful white girl to really make something happen.
This is as real as it gets in that special universe that marketers live in and that Pepsi marketing in particular has come to symbolize.
The wonderful thing about this whole exercise in crass stupidity is that it was created by Pepsi's in-house content studio. According to Digiday, Pepsi "hopes (it) will let marketers, not agencies, sit in the creative driver’s seat." Yeah, that's the ticket. Let the waiters do the cooking!
How completely insanely clueless do you have to be to create a "protest march" in which everyone is beautiful, everyone is under 25, and no one is angry? And someone is holding a sign saying "Join the conversation." Really? Join the fucking conversation?
You may now feel free to un-join the conversation.