PepsiCo has pulled an ad for Mountain Dew that cultural critic Dr. Boyce Watkins called in a blog post today "arguably the most racist commercial in history." The ad was created by PepsiCo in collaboration with Tyler, the Creator of the hip-hop group Odd Future and features members of the group. The premise is that a police lineup of black suspects and the Mountain Dew mascot, Felicia the goat stand before a visibly injured white woman on crutches. "Nail the little sucker" a white detective tells her.
PepsiCo claims the ad was never intended to air on television. A rep told Adweek that "We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended." Past Tyler, the Creator commercials with Felicia the goat include Felicia assaulting a waitress for not giving her enough Mountain Dew, and Felicia getting pulled over for a Mountain Dew.U.I.
It's unclear how exactly this premise or Felicia the goat promote Mountain Dew. Clearer, though, is how the ad trades in racial stereotypes and compares black men to animals. The goat speaks in a caricatured "gangster" style saying things like "snitches get stitches," "You shoulda gave me some more ... I'm nasty" and "When I get outta here I'm gonna do you up." The ad also seemingly makes light of violence against women. According to the AP, Mountain Dew is targeting young, male consumers.
Though the ad has been pulled from "all Mountain Dew channels" and "Tyler is removing it from his channels," it still exists on individual YouTube accounts. This isn't the first time in recent memory that a major food company has used racist imagery to sell its products. Duncan Hines created a commercial just over two years ago that had cupcakes singing in blackface. Below, the commercial.
Video: Tyler The Creator Mountain Dew Commercial Part 3
· Tyler The Creator Mountain Dew Commercial Part 3 [YouTube]
· Mountain Dew Pulls 'Most Racist Commercial in History' [Adweek via Mashable]
· All PepsiCo Coverage on Eater [-E-]