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Advertising is an essential technique that many company partnerships use to help consumers get familiar with their products. Through advertisements, several businesses are able to draw customers to their goods and services (Khan and Khan, 2012). In this type of corporate communication, the producers are trying to reach the consumers. Information sharing within a company is referred to as "business communication," and it is done for the organization's commercial gain (Sharp and Brumberger, 2013). Different businesses develop unique advertising tactics. Pepsi is a multi-national company which sells drinks, beverages and other food stuffs. The paper identifies a major business communication incident which occurred in Pepsi organization and provides an analysis of the way Pepsi handled the issue drawing on various topics.

Summary of case study

Business Communication Tool

There are different methods through which Pepsi communicates to complete the integral part consisting running and managing their organization. Electronics is one of the major ways through which Pepsi reaches out for the consumers of its products. The business technology sector has come up with different ways of communicating electronically (Ainsworth, 2013). The methods can either be through wen conferencing, social networking and online chat. Through the different electronic communication channels, information is conveyed fast. The advertisement was communicated through electronic channels to the media (Khan and Khan, 2012). The advertisement was on various social media platforms such as YouTube and also on the company’s official website.

Pepsi Advertisement

Pepsi’s advertisement was a short-lived commercial which had starred model Kendall Jenner; a family member to the Kardashian (Virginia, 2017). The commercial also featured a large crew of telegenic millennial who had assorted races and great professions. One member of the crew who is perceived as a handsome Asian cellist leaves the studio he works for and resolves to join a swelling protest march. At the moment as he walks by a photo shoot studio, he catches Jenner’s eye. Jenner’s response to this is that she strips off her blond wig then she wipes off the lipstick on her lips and joins the crowd; Jenner had paid homage to the current glamour of authenticity (Virginia, 2017). Jenner then grabs a Pepsi as she runs down the street and hands it over to un-armored policemen who stood guard over the march. A photographer snaps her picture and later, peace, love and understanding reigns over the place.

Reflection of the advertisement to current social life

The advertisement mirrored the Black Lives Matter movement, insulted the daughter of Martin Luther King and also built up a mass social media backlash (Virginia, 2017). The actions portrayed by Jenner evokes the image of a certain Vietnam War protestor who puts a flower in the barrel of a soldier’s gun. In relation to Carter Administration, Saxena’s charge is a crass which repurposes the photo of Black Live Matter protestor who stands proud and elegant as police in riot resolve to gear and arrest her. Either in a subconscious way or a deliberate way, replicates the poignancy of that photo in which a woman, alone and courageous, goes to face a legion of heavily armed policemen (Virginia, 2017). There is a clear conflict because there is no difference between a model who is featured in a national advertisement and a black activist who risks putting her body on the line of a peaceful protest. The internal agency created appeal to inauthentic and old-fashioned.

PepsiCo has earlier on criticized the need for taking much time and money in making advertisements. Instead, there was need for using few hours and money in making the advertisements. This resulted to a total mess in the brand of Pepsi. The advertisement was a total critic which everyone wants eliminated.

Pepsi should never have taken social issues in a light way especially when they are related to people’s suffering (Khan and Khan, 2012). They should instead focus on selling their products in a way which does not exploit the pain and suffering of the people who are marginalized. A can of Pepsi cannot actually solve the problems of people protesting in the streets. There is clearly no awareness of the protestors in the streets in relation to the mindset or environment set up. The advertisement communicates dishonest and makes viewers contrived (Virginia, 2017). It clearly shows the agency responsible for advertisement did not clearly attend a protest in the street or have not spent any time on the streets to comprehend the pent up anger. The protest march has been created in the most unrealistic way.

Critical Analysis

After several criticism of the advertisement by Pepsi, they had to step up and control the issue in order to protect the brand of the product. They had to make clear and effective communications in relations to the advertisement as they apologize in making up for it. People had an inherent set of expectations which Pepsi had to fulfil. The communication had to be organized and ethical. They had to incorporate the golden rule which entailed human kindness, reciprocity which cut across whole cultures, backgrounds, languages and lastly they corporation.

Verbal Communication

To commence with, verbal communication was one of the ways Pepsi conveyed their message. Pepsi met in-person interviews and video conferences. Pepsi apologized for the advertisement which created controversy by saying that through the advertisement, they were only trying to protect a global message inclusion of peace, unity and understanding. They further explain how they missed the mark. They had not intended in making light of any serious issue. They further promised to pull out the content and halt any further rollout (Keyton et al., 2013). Through this, people were able to access the verbal and non-verbal inferences by the Pepsi organization giving out the message. The communication method helped receivers ask questions and get immediate feedback from the Pepsi organizations (Mavridis, 2015). Hence, Pepsi was able to make complete improvements of their systems and relationships.

Depending on the frequency of the feedback, the reviewers were able to give back probing feedback and understanding feedback. People had been reigned by questions such as why they had to criticize people who were rightfully protesting for their rights. There were questions also on why they did not incorporate professionals in advertising. Consequently, there was a great power of influence in which Pepsi really managed to convince people (Khan and Khan, 2012). The verbal apology had a deep effect on the They did a rush in preparing the advertisement.

Despite the fact that there were several challenges in conveying the message such as language barriers to some communities and time differences around the world when giving out the message, convey of the message that displayed a clear cut all along.

Written communication

Pepsi organization when further by using different writing communication channels such as internal business memos, newspapers and posters (Ainsworth, 2013). The Reason magazine, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times had the Pepsi promising to pull out the advertisement completely. Pepsi organization chose to use the written communication in order for their apology to reach out for people at different locations with the similar message conveyed (Canberra, no date). The internal business memo was focused on apologizing to the PepsiCo staff. For the memo to be effective, the organization had to consider the audience in order for the goal be successful. The tone used in the memo was formal and reflected the policies of the organizations. The emphasis on apology was emphasized in the memo. The communication time enabled Pepsi convey the important message of apologizing and pulling out the advertisement which enabled people to clearly review and comprehend the message (Virginia, 2017). People were able to acknowledge receipt of the message and respond to it if necessary.

There was also feedback displayed by the readers of the articles.

Evaluative feedback

People were able to evaluate the credibility of what the Pepsi organization said about the critic advertisement (Virginia, 2017). There was examination of whether the language was professional or not. If the communication could not be having a professional language, it could be perceived informal. The readers view would consequently be negative. The ethos Pepsi used was the most important part of written communication (Canberra, no date). Consequently, Pepsi applied written communication in order to ensure they had documented as they apologized for the mess they had created by the advertisement.

Electronic communication

As discussed earlier, business technology has open to different channels of electronic communications (Virginia, 2017). Through Pepsi’s official website, there has been official convey of communication on the apology of the critic of protestors. Through their platform, Pepsi apologized to Jenner who is a daughter of the public figures Kris and Caitlyn Jenner. They apologized for putting her on such a show which had almost destroyed her positive public figure (Virginia, 2017). Through other social media platforms such twitter, Pepsi apologized on their official twitter handle and Facebook. There were several online chats between the customer service of Pepsi with both the consumers and non-consumers of Pepsi.

The use of electronic communication method by Pepsi resulted to delivering of the message in mass public and also there was low cost. The electronic communication method enabled Pepsi reach outside the business stakeholders and also the general public (Canberra, no date). It could be used to communicate people around different parts of the world including people in the rural areas. Pepsi had also reached out for international organizations such as the UNICEF.

Fundamentals to Communication

In order to resolve the critics of the advertisement Pepsi had created they had to develop better fundamentals to communication (Canberra, no date). Comprehension of the perspectives would lead to a clear insight of awareness. Perspective was determined to be a major factor to the advertising dynamic process.


As concluded from the advertisement, there are certain things with which would seem like a simple intervention can lead to cascading effects of things believed as critics and insults (Canberra, no date). Simply being encoded by the genes further, means that there is enhancement in flexibility of personality and a dynamic thing which would change over a life span and shaped by experience. Pepsi had to know that at some time, the advertisement would work and even be awarded. In the past, advertisements would flatter viewers; viewers would perceive themselves as being young and idealistic (Keyton et al., 2013). The ad would be displaying an act of freedom and also some self-assertion. Organizations would be free to choose any way of advertising and would stand up on their own. Consequently, through the comprehension of self-concept, Pepsi would make effective business communication with limited critics.

Attitudes, Beliefs and Values

The immediate disposition toward the concept of unity and love should be positive in advertisements (Canberra, no date). The organization should focus on positive attitudes which would build proper relations with the consumers and consumers, at local levels and multi-national levels. Pepsi should also understand various ideas based on previous experiences and convictions around the world. The beliefs should be focused based on the political, economic and also religious issues (Sharp and Brumberger, 2013). The beliefs such as the protests, serve as a frame of reference within which people interpret certain things in life. The girl putting a flower in the barrel of a gun held by a soldier, signifies peace and unity. The woman who came in the front line of the armed policemen symbolized the right to fight for freedom and the scene promoted the need for courage among individuals (Ainsworth, 2013). The values should be comprehended to be the central belief.


Business communications allows the producers of a product or a service get a message conveyed to the consumers and non-consumers of a producers (Canberra, no date). Through advertisements, organizations are able to communicate the details and uses of their products to the consumers and non-consumers of their products. This increases the consumption of the products and services. Pepsi has been accused of appropriating the imagery from serious protests to in order to gain the market of its product (Sharp and Brumberger, 2013). Meanwhile, the organization minimizes the danger protesters encounter and the frustration they feel. Pepsi stepped up and apologized for the wrong intended message displayed in their advertisement. PepsiCo came out and said they only intended to promote peace, love and understanding all over the world (Virginia, 2017). They communicated through verbal, written and electronic communications. Through this, the apology for discriminating the Black Lives Matter movement was attained.


Ainsworth, J. (2013) ‘Business Languages for Intercultural and International Business Communication’, Business Communication Quarterly, 76(1), pp. 28–50. doi: 10.1177/1080569912471186.

Canberra, U. of (no date) MANAGEMENT COMMUNICATION. First Edit. University of Canberra.

Keyton, J. et al. (2013) ‘Investigating Verbal Workplace Communication Behaviors’, International Journal of Business Communication, 50(2), pp. 152–169. doi: 10.1177/0021943612474990.

Khan, F. and Khan, M. E. (2012) ‘Achieving Success through Effective Business Communication’, Information and Knowledge Management, 2(2), pp. 46–50. doi: 10.4102/sajip.v38i2.993.

Mavridis, N. (2015) ‘A review of verbal and non-verbal human-robot interactive communication’, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, pp. 22–35. doi: 10.1016/j.robot.2014.09.031.

Sharp, M. R. and Brumberger, E. R. (2013) ‘Business Communication Curricula Today: Revisiting the Top 50 Undergraduate Business Schools’, Business Communication Quarterly, 76(1), pp. 5–27. doi: 10.1177/1080569912471187.

Virginia, P. (2017) PEPSI’S AD FAILURE UNDERSCORES THE BRAND’S IDENTITY CRISIS, Bloomberg View. Available at:

March 10, 2023

Business Economics

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