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One Portland Protester Tried to Reenact That Pepsi Ad & It Went About as You’d Expect



It’s been a whirlwind of a week for Pepsi, what with their tone-deaf ad, having to apologize for said ad, and the flood of think pieces and tear-downs we saw in between. But we’re not done yet. This ad is the resistance-co-opting gift that keeps on giving.

According to the Oregonian, Portland protesters have been banned from City Council meetings. Only a few people–”mainly city employees and a handful of journalists”–were even allowed in the building where the meetings take place for much of yesterday afternoon. One protester, though, managed to show up to the meeting with a goal of connecting with the city’s mayor.

And as Kendall Jenner taught us this week, there’s no division that a can of Pepsi can’t bridge, right? Surely, if it works in a terrible commercial, it’ll work in life?

Carlos Enrique started by telling the council members that he sees them being berated by constituents, hearing a lot of anger directed at them, but then they end up not listening to the protesters, saying “I’m signing the ordinance anyway.”

Enrique told them, “What I realized is that the language of resistance has not been properly translated.”

At which point, he approached the council, took a can of Pepsi out of his pocket, and put it in front of the mayor. And, shockingly (to no one), this man did not have the same experience as Kendall Jenner.


Mayor Wheeler got visibly nervous and stammered, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Not a good move. Don’t do that again, okay? Not a smart move.” Enrique had another can in his pocket that he tried to open and cheers the mayor with, in a Jenneresque symbol of ultimate understanding and bonding. Two security guards took Enrique away before he could establish true peace through soda.

So, ultimately, reenacting the Pepsi ad didn’t result in the violence many suspected it would. That probably has more to do with the contained setting, rather than the act itself. (The mayor even makes the off-putting comment that if this had happened in Boston, where Enrique claimed to be from, “that would have ended differently.”)

The act did seem to be about as effective as Jenner’s, though. Which is to say, not at all. Was there a point to it? Is it commentary on the pointlessness of trying to voice dissent to a group of political leaders who are only going to ignore your efforts anyway? Or was it just an attempt at topical, empty cuteness? Was this re-enactment any less cringeworthy than the original?

Whether for the very real risk of a violent reaction or just realizing there might not be a more pointless homage possible, let this be a lesson we probably didn’t need: don’t do this.

If you’d like to watch the exchange, it starts around the 1:51:00 mark.

(via HuffPo, image: screengrab)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.