Residents of New Bern, birthplace of Pepsi, react to controversial commercial

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NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — After Pepsi pulled a controversial ad some said mocked protests against police violence, 9OYS talked to residents in New Bern, the home of Pepsi, to see how they felt about the video.

New Bern resident Ashley Brown was one of many who said the commercial sent the wrong message.

“For the black community, it just makes light of the whole situation,” Brown, said.

Marcus Thompson said he understands what Pepsi was going for but said it was misguided.

“I can appreciate, I think, what they were trying to do,” said Thompson. “I think they were trying to tie their product with the young generation and with unity. However, I will say that it really trivializes the hard work that organizers and people do when they protest.

In a statement after removing the ad, the company says in part, “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding.”

Many said instead it mocked efforts by civil rights activists to bring awareness of injustices in the black community

“The offering of a Pepsi-Cola, like that’s all that’s going to correct generational abuse sometimes by the police is just trivial,” said Bernand George, a historian and lecturer.

Others said Pepsi was just an ad reaching out to the millennial population.

“We thought that it was simply an ad,” said Dan Dicaterino, New Bern resident. “We didn’t read into it. People make a lot of valued opinions by it or about it, but we just didn’t read into it.

Pepsi’s apology is below.

Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.

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