You would have heard or seen the backlash created when Pepsi released their commercial #Resistance which ended up falling on its face. The company’s tone-deaf ad–which used Black Lives Matter iconography and Kendall Jenner to suggest that carbonated beverages can heal America’s wounds–inspired such a seething backlash it was pulled almost instantly.
Their mistake was that they assumed that people’s opinions are formed overnight when in fact people’s judgement are molded over years and we tend to assume that our opinion is the right one and everyone else’s is wrong. Like in the movies, the bad guys are painted bad because they want to achieve something selfish but in reality, they might be fighting for a loss they suffered a long time ago. Charlize Theron’s “Cipher” in The Fast & Furious 8,though, is just plain evil.
So back to commercials that plant assumptions and think things are always black and white, they’re set up for failure as things aren’t always how they seem. Heineken recognizes this and acknowledged the fact that the people themselves should talk to each other to really understand where they’re coming from. A few weeks after the Pepsi debacle, Heineken came up with its own ad.
Complete strangers who have been selected for their political opinions, but not told what the experiment entails, were matched up and made to speak with each other. The guy who doesn’t believe in climate change meets face-to-face with the environmental doomsayer, and both are made to hear out their respective views. Other issues explored throughout the ad include feminism and transgender rights. This kind of heavy material might seem impossible to fully explore in a meaningful way in such a short commercial but they pulled it off by encouraging actual dialogue between the two sides rather than glamorizing and whitewashing the protest movement.
This commercial may seem like bulls*it, as well. I mean, can building furniture and drinking a beer together really change opinions built over the years?
If anyone could see eye-to-eye on matters, there won’t be any wars, right? Or if people were more forthright about their intentions, there won’t be unnecessary killings. Eg, President A to President B: Hey, we know your country has a lot of oil which we know everyone needs. I don’t really want to pay a lot for it but in exchange for a better price, I can offer you our technology which can improve how it’s produced and distributed. That way I don’t have to hire stage actors and have my military men kill my own people and yours. Win-win, no?
So what do we learn from this? Basically, just being aware that people have their own opinions and beliefs and respecting that that’s how things are. Acceptance of our differences can break down the walls of resistance.
And besides commercials are best-case scenarios. We know they aren’t real most of the time.
What’s your take on these commercials and their attempt at breaking walls?