San Francisco Threatens Lawsuit Over Derided Pepsi Ad

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The unauthorized use of a San Francisco Police Department logo in the controversial Pepsi ad featuring model and Kardashian clan member Kendall Jenner has led the threat of a lawsuit from the SF City Attorney.

Friday afternoon, City Attorney Dennis Herrera released a statement that said the city was considering legal action over the use of the logo in the ad.

Pepsi released the commercial to global derision and a wave of social media roasting earlier this week.

The over two-minute long “Live for Now Moments” video begins with Jenner in a platinum wig on a photo shoot when a group of protesters marches by. She then rips off her wig, smears away her lipstick and joins them, eventually handing an officer on the demonstration line a can of Pepsi. He gulps some down, and then grins as Jenner dances off.

kjennerpepsi021 San Francisco Threatens Lawsuit Over Derided Pepsi Ad

Kendall Jenner (credit: YouTube/Pepsi Max)

Criticism on social media ranged from some accusations that the imagery was tone deaf and trivialized protests for social justice, to outrage over evoking a widely-circulated photo of Black Lives Matter protester Ieshia Evans last year in Louisiana. Evans was detained when she approached police at a demonstration in Baton Rouge.

While the company initially defended the ad, Pepsi pulled the ad on Wednesday. “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said in a news release. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.”

It said it was “removing the content and halting any further rollout.”

TMZ reported early Friday morning that the ad also included shoulder patches on the police officer uniforms that were essentially identical to patches on San Francisco police officer uniforms, though with a different color scheme.

TMZ reported that a SFPD source said Pepsi never requested permission to use department logo. While pictures of the emblem didn’t appear in the ad, they were featured in behind-the-scenes footage.

Thursday afternoon, Herrera issued the following statement:

“Pepsi did not have permission to use the San Francisco Police Department logo. We’re demanding that Pepsi not run any footage or photos associated with this ad that reference the San Francisco Police Department. If they don’t comply, we will explore all legal options. There is nothing San Franciscan about Pepsi’s ham-handed attempt here to fatten its own bottom line.”

Given that the soda company had already pulled the advertisement, the city may not end up needing to take action.

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