The Inauguration, Branded: How Vapid Can We Get?

I hate to be cynical at this moment of national renewal, but I just have to call out the shallowness of Pepsi’s “RefreshEverything” microsite and YouTube channel. The effort, which seeks to leverage the historical moment to build brand equity, may set a new standard for emptiness of thought in pseudo-political advertising.

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Masquerading as a place for people to post video letters to Barack Obama, the effort is actually a feeble patchwork of clichés designed to sell soft drinks. Really, how many times have we been asked to feel inspired by tightly edited video montages where celebrities finish each other’s sentences? Naturally any such project must feature Will.i.am, the Black Eyed Peas front man and producer of Busta Rhymes single “I Love My Bitch” who somehow has become a spokesperson for the Obama youth movement — not to mention a CNN hologram.

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