When Woody Guthrie scrawled “This machine kills fascists” on his guitar, it became an enduring adage to the revolutionary minded. He was a folk-singer, far ahead of his time. Richly associated with protest, he foreshadowed the posturing of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Billy Bragg and the rest. Accordingly, his lyrics and music carry as much weight and relation today as they did close to a century ago. That’s why it’s such a shame that he couldn’t be around to help out PepsiCo, leaving us with Kendall Jenner in his place.
Just imagine it. Instead of some modelling mimzy, crooning through crowds with the sincerity of a cold-caller, we’d have Guthrie championing peace like only he can. It would have made more sense coming from him too. In 2015, Forbes estimated that Jenner’s wealth came in at around the four-million dollars mark. Indeed, that allows for her to purchase quite the surplus of Pepsi, which might explain her charitable approach to its distribution. At its heart though, driving Jenner’s actions is the cynicism of a capitalist. The more left-leaning Guthrie would have brought gravitas to the message. Therein lies the problem with Live for Now, PepsiCo’s stunning societal manifesto.
We’ve had people of all creeds and colours living together for a while now. It’s obviously a desirable evolution for the human race but, in practice, it’s always proved troublesome. However, only through Pepsi can that multiculturalism seem tenable. I like to think that someone like Guthrie could have seen the elegance of their vision too. Armed with a freshly defaced guitar, reading “This machine loves #Pepsi!”, the intentions would have been clear. For years of police brutality, divisive prejudice and social injustice, the sane of us have dreamed of a way to make it work. Perhaps, if innocent Americans armed themselves with Pepsi in equal measure to their guns, we’d all be able to better bridge the barriers that separate us.
The backlash that Live for Now received hit me on a personal level. Pepsi has been my cola of choice some time now, since Coca-Cola took on an, oddly gritty, chemical taste. My first consideration when the advert dropped was the numerous empty cans on my bedside table. And how delectable each of them were in their time… It’s truly a paragon of carbonated joy. It has, for years now, tempered the brutal troughs of my mind’s self-reflection. A cooled, crisp can revitalises the worst of depressions. It can lift the most jaded of men to divine heights. As such I declared, proudly, into the Twittersphere, my solidarity:
— Lee Tyrrell (@GreenT128) 5 April 2017
I may have been in my ex-girlfriend’s pink dressing gown, but she’s a Coca-Cola girl anyway. With that attitude, she’ll be locked into a bastion of oppression as long as society can last. Coca-Cola’s vision for peace would probably encompass tasting force-fed feelings and letting polar bears drive trucks. I ask of you, anonymous internet, what logical sense that makes? That established, Pepsi would clearly be the preferred cola of Spock. What greater endorsement do you need?
A “red state” is one that predominantly votes for the right-wing Republican party. The way this probably reflects their cola of choice has no evidence behind it, but it’s still a hard and actual fact. That considered, we can clearly see that Coca-Cola is almost entirely responsible for the presidential campaigns of the worst oppressors, from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump himself. Blue, on the other hand, represents Pepsi and the more tolerant attitude that comes with its consumption. Since no-one verifies journalistic claims anymore, it’s worth stating that PepsiCo’s share-price directly correlates to America’s ever-evolving political map. Another (unverified) hard and actual fact.
— Lee Tyrrell (@GreenT128) 5 April 2017
Coca-Cola’s creation predates Pepsi’s by nearly ten years. This, accordingly, shows the anachronistic nature of Coca-Cola. It feels old. It feels on its last legs. Conversely, Pepsi represents modern ingenuity and guile. Take, for example, the key difference in flavour. Why Coca-Cola remain steadfast supporters of a vanilla hint is ever-mysterious to me. The citrus styling of Pepsi is far more forward thinking. After all, vanilla is the most widely derided flavour of ice cream. Citrus tints, on the other hand, have shown their face almost everywhere since multiculturalism became fashionable. It makes people think of limes. Limes make people think of cabanas on some tropical beach. Vanilla calls to mind xenophobia, and a bland unquestioning.
This is probably why CM Punk had Pepsi’s logo tattooed onto his arm. Is it not today’s equivalent of Che Guevara’s ubiquitous visage? Simply wearing it on your shirt can label you a free-thinker. Imagine having a Coca-Cola logo on your t-shirt. You’d look a corporate twat. That’s just first impressions too. With a little time in the presence of someone wearing such a shirt, just imagine the assumptions you’d make about their character. What kind of garish social hamster would make such a statement? You’d have to have very little concern for the hungry mouths of the starving third-world. In addition, it makes clear that the wearer is a dedicated follower of social norms to the very letter. Wearing a Pepsi logo would leave your peers in awe of your subversive fashion statement. Clearly the expression of a deep-feeling soul. Absolutely the mark of progression.
So, was Live for Now truly a misjudged affair? In honesty, yes. However, you can blame that almost entirely on Jenner’s involvement. If it weren’t for her muddying the waters, the message would have been as clear as Crystal Pepsi. Otherwise, the truism of Pepsi’s social potential is one you can’t deny. We would simply all get along better if we chose one brand over an another. It’s an answer to political questions left hanging in the ether for centuries. As a result, so too was the backlash against Live for Now misjudged. Mockery filled every corner of the internet. Hysteria grabbed the easily led. Many considered it better to point and jeer. Even many of my idols came out in support of Coca-Cola. It was like the victory of Trump last year. I just didn’t understand people’s allegiances anymore.
— Lee Tyrrell (@GreenT128) 5 April 2017
Where Pepsi gives me faith for a bright future, social media snaps it back with its archetypal cynicism. Now, thanks to this ad campaign, their good work has been set back at least ten years. How much longer must we live under the oppression of consumer choice? The ultimate communist dream of a unified cola for every citizen is some time away. Until then, it’s clear we’ll have to just accept widespread unrest. I genuinely consider if mankind are worthy of Pepsi sometimes. It could easily be the foundation for peace. It could be our blueprint for satisfaction. Yet, it remains nothing more than “the rival”. Don’t blame me if this makes them give up on these issues entirely. Then we’ll be left at the head-end of this miserable century with all beverages and no hope. What other company has such a refined vision for our prosperity?
Perhaps advocates like I could find a way to subvert the reactions of our peers. Perhaps we could form clubs. Sects, even. It’s entirely possible that the Illuminati are way ahead of us; already liberally serving Pepsi at their veiled meetings. It’s probably helped lubricate some of the world’s key events. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You could surely smash out a pretty good Rome in a week with Pepsi on your side. As the drink becomes more synonymous with such rebellion, we may even enter an age of prohibition. For fear that we see that day, consider this a call to action. To all my comrades: Unite!
If you can see past Jenner, you’re welcome on the journey. As long as there remains a small bubble of true believers, the fight will blaze on. Pepsi martyrs across the planet will never give up in their belief. It’s a simple hope too. Whatever trouble you’re in, whatever the conflict, Pepsi will settle it. There’s just something about it. It crosses boundaries. It manages to transcend the petty misgivings of humanity. By and large, these words will not be heeded. It will take the world some time accept things like Live for Now, if it ever can. In the wake of all this reactionary chaos, consider for one second how that reflects on us.
— Lee Tyrrell (@GreenT128) April 6, 2017