Pieces of Ivory: Pepsi Max Commercial Are You Offended?

It’s a little known fact that Pepsi and Doritos’ Super Bowl commercials are submitted by up and coming filmmakers. For the past four years, Pepsi Co. has run a contest each year to see who can make the best amateur commercial. The contest is called ‘Crash The Super Bowl’ and the winner gets a chance to win up to one million dollars and have their commercial aired during the biggest sporting event of the year.

This year, there were several great entries in the contest. The commercial that got some of the biggest buzz, both positive and negative, was about a black woman who basically controls her man’s life. At the end the commercial, the woman throws a can at her man’s head, ruining their peaceful moment after he basically flirts with a white chick in front of her who happens to be exercising nearby. He dips, she misses, it hits the chick in the head and they run off together.

Is this how many “other” folks see black women? Is this how they view us in relationships as demanding, controlling and bossy? Is this how our men are viewed as weak minded, whipped and always lusting after the forbidden fruit?

When I first saw the commercial I thought it was very funny, especially at the end. But after the chuckles subsided, it was very obvious there were several stereotypical behaviors within the ad.

Controlling – The woman controlled what her man ate, what he ordered in the restaurant and what he snacked on. Did she have to be portrayed that harshly? Couldn’t she have been more of a Claire Huxtable type that only tried to look after and care about her husband’s health and eating habits?

Whipped – Did the man have to get emasculated at every turn? He got kicked for ordering the wrong thing, his face got smashed in a pie, he had to hide in the bathtub to get a snack and then he got a can thrown at him? I don’t know any man who would put up with that type of behavior, especially a black man. Do “others” really believe that our men get treated so badly by us? Couldn’t he have been portrayed as a strong-willed, health conscious brother that valued his wife’s opinions and was glad that she cared about his health and well-being?

Jealous of a 2520 – Did it have to be a white chick that came along and ruined the peace and harmony between the couple? They finally agreed on the drink and were doing great. Why did some young white chick have to come by and ruin all that? Couldn’t an attractive black chick have been jogging by and that’s what caught his eye? Oh, I get it, black chicks don’t work out. I mean, look at the chick playing the lead. She is slightly overweight herself. So, why not portray an athletic, healthy, pretty, black chick jogging by? Oh, I forgot, obviously those don’t exist or the director would have used that, right?

Are these some of the biggest reasons why black women can’t find a man or stay in healthy relationships because we act like this? Or was it just a funny spot that got folks talking bout Pepsi Max and people are taking it way too seriously?

By the way, a young white dude from Kansas City produced this commercial, so obviously he had to get his content from somewhere, right?

10 thoughts on “Pieces of Ivory: Pepsi Max Commercial Are You Offended?

  • I understand your points but I think you might be reading more into it….so I guess you're saying that if the couple would have been white and the young chick jogging been black than it would have just been a funny commercial…..I would rather just go with it being a funny commercial….

    • I like I said from the post I thought it was funny as well, but then when I sat back and re watched it I notice tons of stereotypes. And my biggest concern was that if a white guy directed and concepted it how and why does he feel like black woman act that way, that black men react that way and black relationships are so dysfunctional?

      • Is it fair to assume that the white director thinks that ALL black men & women act that way…I don't think so….maybe he (the director) was showing a couple where the woman was controlling the man….I'm sure there are women of ALL races who do that..just like there are men of ALL races that act like the man in the commercial…in this situation the couple just happen to be black….I think too much is being assumed…..if a white guy directs a movie where a black woman plays a crack addict does that mean that he thinks ALL black women are crack addicts…..

      • I am a white brother and I noticed the stereotypes you've mentioned in that commercial. A lot of people take things at face value without considering the messages or imagery that is put before them. I know that, because I am white and have lived with white family members my whole life, there are white people who saw that commercial as further evidence to support the stereotypes that they already subscribed to. Not all white people, mind you. But I can witness to the fact that white people (myself included) have not the slightest idea what it is like to be non white in this world. I have been blessed to have a BS meter when it comes to hypocrisy, however.

        There is a very sizable population of white people who are intimidated by the intellectual (innovation, creativity) and physical (beauty, physique) gifts that black people possess. I suppose that there are those white people who are afraid to have to come to reckon with the past misery that their white ancestors have inflicted upon all manner of non white people. I can speak on these matters because I know how white people talk amongst white people. My estimation is that the minority of white men in particular have a hatred complex as opposed to the whole lot of white men. But here again we arrive at the truth that most people take things at face value. Those white men who do not have a hatred complex are more likely than not, ignorant and uneducated. Ignorant of real stress, like not knowing if the police that just pulled you over are going to turn you into another number and uneducated because they don't understand true world history let alone true American history.

        My father is a businessman and when I was a very idealistic youth, I asked my father why he hadn't hired any black men at his business and he replied "because when a customer comes into the shop, they don't want to see a black man". Fast forward to a recent discussion I had with my father during the last NFL playoffs. He said in not so many words "I find it kind of strange that there are so many black men in the NFL, but not too many black quarterbacks…I wonder why". I said "I can try to explain." I asked my dad if he had "ever heard of Warren Moon?" He said yeah and I explained to him about how a lot of black quarterbacks had been encouraged to change positions for a long time and that Warren Moon was an example of a very great black quarterback that had been encouraged to do just that. Anyone that doesn't know can google Warren Moon. So at this point my father says "I don't know if I believe that, as an owner of an NFL franchise I would want the best team possible." Then I said, "I'm not slamming you for this, but remember a long time ago when I asked you about why you hadn't hired any black men at the shop?" He kind of looked in disbelief and said he didn't remember that. But I do remember.

        Let's not forget that convenient denial is another enemy.

        The only thing that will sever the head off this stuff completely is God's love. No politician or self help book will suffice. It's too big. We need a David to face Goliath.

  • There is some truth in stereotypes. I'm engaged to a beautiful Black woman who doesn't act that way but many others do. And in fact many feel that is how they are supposed to behave and thus have bought into these negative stereotypes.

    • "…but many others do."

      I think that's the problem. Is it really so prevalent that Black women have to be portrayed in this light so frequently? I wouldn't have such a problem if we wouldn't all be lumped together constantly. I'm looking for a more balanced display of how the media sees Black women. I've watched a number of Caucasian women act a complete fool on The Real World, and other shows of that ilk. No one is running around saying "That's just how white women act". One of the reasons you don't say/think that is due to the various images of Caucasian women all over the media. There's a balance.

      That's not to say that the Black women who conduct themselves in this manner are not contributing to this problem. However, it's important to point out that this is a multi-faceted problem. To say "many Black women act like this" doesn't excuse the inappropriate nature of this commercial.

      • High Five Skeptical at Best! Thats is exactly my thoughts, yes there are tons of other woman of other races running around acting a fool and no one is putting them on blast at every chance they get.

  • I've been waiting and wanting to write about this but didn't think it was worth my time or thought to comment on other opinions I've run across that read like a civil rights gone wrong pissing contest. I think you were honest–and I think you got it right the first time. The commercial earned your laughter–which was the intended purpose–not outrage or protest, just laughter. It's not at all likely that Pepsi execs had a meeting to discuss spending +$3 million on an ad to anger black women so they would buy LESS of their diet soda. I should type that sentence twice.

    Of course there are stereotypes. Stereotypes are generally funny and widely used in every form of human interaction, especially media. In the saddest of ironies, the waves of protest that have erupted over this commercial is actually injecting the stereotype with steroids. The black woman in the commercial threw a can at her man and inadvertently hit a white woman in the head. Now some black women (and pandering men) are reacting by picking the can and throwing it a "The Man" and his evil, subliminal, stereotyping ways, but are inadvertently hitting themselves in the head.

    Stereotypes are woven into the fabric or humanity. They can't be avoided. But they aren't exactly the social land mines that the "rebels without a cause" would have us believe.

    Exhibit A: Tyler Perry is the chief of all stereotypewriters black, white or in between. (Note to self: add stereotypewriter to urban dictionary.) I can't watch anything with his screenwriting attached to it. But he doesn't miss my patronage at ALL. People LOVE Tyler Perry. They flock to support his portfolio of cliches and entirely excuse his lack of writing talent or creative range. Why!? Because it's okay to laugh at his stereotypes (whether it's with him or at him). If Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence or Dave Chappelle took the same narrative we see in this commercial and turned it into a stand-up piece, it would be classically hilarious. Why!? Because they get a pass too. Every comedian does. As long they're not too white. And the truth be told, every person does. So long as they aren't caucasian by birth or persuasion. But we see Pepsi–think "white" and suddenly, funny isn't funny anymore. It's a false-sophistication that won't allow us to accept or acknowledge The White Man's brand of funny–even when it's really funny–which is really kind of sad. So I'm glad you laughed Ivory. No need for further analysis, apology or retraction. I can't even look at a white woman now without the vision of a soda can flying toward her head. And I laugh, EVERYTIME. And I'm perfectly okay with that.

  • I’d need to verify with you here. Which isn’t one thing I normally do! I enjoy reading a publish that can make people think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to comment!

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