Lego marketer: Pepsi's Kendall Jenner ad shook the world with its 'fuck-up'

A panel session at Cannes Lions titled "Five ads that shook the world" had the surprise inclusion of the by-now notorious Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner.

Lars Silberbauer, senior global director of social media and video at Lego, said he included the ad as "an example of how you fuck things up". 

"They invested a tonne of money – it had a huge production budget, huge influencers, it tried to connect with activism and diversity... and you still fuck up," Silberbauer said. "What Pepsi and the world learnt from this is you can't fake it. You have to be honest and authentic."

All in all, the ad was a beautiful example of how not to do it, he continued. "A very expensive test and learn."

The other ads chosen were, however, more inspirational. Lisa Gilbert, chief marketing officer of UK and Ireland for IBM, selected Red Bull's 2012's "Stratos" - which documented  Felix Baumgartner's supersonic freefall from 128,000 feet.

"I love it because it’s an amazing piece of theatre. But also because it started a conversation with a target audience they hadn’t previously connected with – the extreme sports enthusiasts," Gilbert said.

Lisa Jedan, global head of PR and corporate communications for Bacardi Martini, pointed to BMW's breakthrough film ad series starring Clive Owen, "The hire". 

"This was before YouTube, before fast broadband, and it still pulled in 11 million views. And, more importantly, increased sales for BMW by 12% year-on-year," Jeden said.

Then panel moderator Andrew Canter, global chief executive of BCMA selected the last two ads. First was Apple's iconic "Silhouette" iPod ads:

"These ads launched in 2003 and was truly evocative with a real impact on pop culture. They ran for five years and really became known with its recognisable imagery," Canter said. "Apple sold 10 million iPods and a billion songs were downloaded on iTunes."

There's something to be said about consistency, Gilbert added. "We get bored, as marketers, of running the same core idea but that consistency is important. When you keep changing things around the consumer just won't remember who you are anymore."

The final ad chosen by the panel was Orange's "The Future is Bright, the Future is Orange", filmed by Ridley Scott.

"It was the forerunner to the BMW film series. The first time really that an ad campaign had a big, cinematic experience," Canter said. "It was a risk."

And that's what brands need to do more, Gilbert said: "There's so much content now to break through you have to be more human and get off the product product product marketing."

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