Mountain Dew Loses Control, Crisis Management Ensues

Erik Bernstein crisis communications, crisis management, Crisis Prevention, crisis public relations, Crisis Response, Erik Bernstein, Jonathan Bernstein, online crisis management, online reputation management, PR, public relations, reputation management, risk assessment Leave a Comment

How did this mess ever get the green light?

Late last month, PepsiCo joined the ranks of organizations that went too far with edgy marketing campaigns and were forced into crisis management as a result.

The company partnered with controversial rapper and producer Tyler the Creator to produce a new series of web videos, giving him full creative control. The result, which we can’t bring to you because it’s been removed from both Mountain Dew and Tyler’s online channels, depicts a beaten woman being pushed to pick her assailant from a police lineup of young black men and a goat, which threatens the woman until she flees in fear.

The video was instantly perceived as racist and misogynist, and after a rapid backlash that included slams from national media outlets and a deluge of negativity across social media, PepsiCo issued the following statement:

We apologize for this video and take full responsibility. We have removed it from all Mountain Dew channels and Tyler is removing it from his channels as well.

In addition, the company ran a paid Twitter ad, probably a smart move considering the level of negative sentiment that arose on social media following the video’s release:


Just as when a recent Hyundai ad depicted a man attempting suicide, it should have been obvious from the start that these commercials weren’t fit to be broadcast.

Before making any decision on whether or not to share something with the public, stop….and THINK! Ask yourself, will this piss people off? If you’re hazy on the answer, go ahead and run it by friends, family, or an actual test audience, and gather honest feedback before taking it into the public arena.

In this case, the obvious answer was an overwhelming yes, which leaves us wondering what Mountain Dew execs were thinking. Or, perhaps more fittingly, if they were thinking at all.

The BCM Blogging Team

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