UPDATE (4/7, 2:15 p.m.): SF Weekly has confirmed that the office of the San Francisco City Attorney is considering legal action against Pepsi. “Pepsi did not have permission to use the San Francisco Police Department logo,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement to SF Weekly. “We’re demanding that Pepsi not run any footage or photos associated with this ad that reference the San Francisco Police Department. If they don’t comply, we will explore all legal options. There is nothing San Franciscan about Pepsi’s ham-handed attempt here to fatten its own bottom line.”
It takes an epically awful advertisement to piss off both the Black Lives Matter movement and the police. But that’s exactly what the infamous Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial has done, as the San Francisco Police Department is reportedly exploring possible legal action over unauthorized use of their name and logo in the ad.
You’ve surely seen or heard about the maddeningly tasteless “fake-woke white people” Pepsi advertisement in which Kendall Jenner hands a soda to a riot cop and a crowd of peace sign-holding Coachella attendees goes bananas. But as you can see in the image above, taken from a behind-the-scenes version of the ad that has since been deleted, the police officers’ sleeve patches say “San Francisco Police” and use the same eagle logo as the SFPD sleeve patches.
TMZ first reported that the San Francisco Police name and logo had been used without permission, and has a side-by-side version of both patches showing the similarities. The New York Daily News confirmed that the SFPD was considering legal action, and had referred the matter to the City Attorney.
“We’re still looking into the matter,” SFPD public information officer Robert Rueca told the Daily News. “There’s a lot of controversy involving the advertisement, and we don’t want to be involved in the controversy.”
This is all just hilarious to those of us who enjoy mocking the Jenners and corporate America, but the SFPD’s concerns are legitimate. Their name and logo are considered proprietary, and a legal case could be made that a reasonable person would confuse the use of name and logo as an endorsement of Pepsi, Kendall Jenner, or caucasian privilege.
It may be the first time the police are the ones complaining about cultural appropriation, but their name and logo were apparently appropriated here. SF Weekly has reached out to the City Attorney for comment, and we’ll update this article with any response.