Online news media framing of corporate crises The case of the ‘’Live for Now’’ Pepsi advertisement in the USA
In April of 2017, the ‘’Live for Now’’ Pepsi advertisement, starring Kendall Jenner was released. Pepsi created this advertisement, with the aim to celebrate the unique moments in life that make people feel alive, as was stated in the press release that they published on the same day (PepsiCo, 2017a). The commercial depicted a rather joyful protest, full of young people. Kendall Jenner was seen to also join the protest, and towards the end of the commercial, she offers a Pepsi to the policemen that are present it the protest, which causes the protest to end. On the day of the release, the commercial instantly received backlash. Stakeholders took on social media to highlight all the troubling parts of the advertisement and online news media started publishing numerous articles. All this resulted in Pepsi pulling the ad only one day after the release. This explorative study seeks to research how was the ‘’Live for Now’’ Pepsi advertisement was framed by the online news media in the USA, from April 4th of 2017, until May 4th of 2017. For that purpose, 47 different news articles were analyzed, taken from 18 different online news media outlets in the USA. The articles were analyzed with the help of the Atlas.ti software, and the method used in order to answer the research question was qualitative content analysis. The main findings of this research first included the main news frames that were most frequently used from the news media, which are the attribution of responsibility frame, the morality frame, and the conflict frame. Some of these findings were aligned with previous literature of An and Gower (2009), however, some differentiations were also observed. In addition, it was found that the majority of the articles used an ironic and negative tone when narrating the crisis issue. Also, most of them did take an active stance against Pepsi, and did not just keep a neutral position, without expressing an opinion towards the issue. Furthermore, the articles widely covered political and societal issues. Based on the fact that the advertisement used the marketing strategy of brand activism and was therefore firmly connected with issues that touched upon political and societal issues, it was only expected that the articles would also reproduce these concerns as well. In addition to that, the commercial was perceived as ungenuine, and therefore, discussions about whether Pepsi should have associated the brand with such important issues was questioned. Lastly, from the results, it was seen that even though Pepsi adopted a specific frame, the news media did not seem to follow the same frame, which can prove to be an important lesson for companies in times of crisis. Also, several frames seemed to emerge from same news media outlets, as many of them reproduced different content, inspired by the same issue, as the crisis issue evolved, in order to keep the audience’s attention and to keep the story fresh.
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|Media & Business|
|Organisation||Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication|
Skari, Kelly. (2021, November). Online news media framing of corporate crises The case of the ‘’Live for Now’’ Pepsi advertisement in the USA. Media & Business. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/61327