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April 05, 2017

Philly's reaction to Pepsi's widely panned protest ad: Soda tax jokes galore

Soda Tax Pepsi
04132015_Pepsi_AP Seth Perlman/AP

In this photo taken May 16, 2011, file photo, the Pepsi logo is seen on a delivery truck at Walmart in Springfield, Ill.

Pepsi, aiming for an audience of politically motivated millennials, essentially shot itself in the foot when it released an ad featuring new spokesperson Kendall Jenner on Tuesday.

BREAKING: Pepsi says it's pulling widely mocked ad

The ad features Jenner modeling in a doorway and noticing a group of unusually bright and cheery protesters marching down the street. Jenner decides to join the protesters and hands a police officer a Pepsi.

Critics have panned the ad as "tone-deaf," arguing it essentially appropriates the legitimate concerns of those who've demonstrated for issues like police brutality and racial bias in an effort to sell sugar water.

For more on the general backlash to the ad, click here, here and here.

In Philly, the criticism on social media had a very specific spin to it. Since the city's 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks went into effect this year to fund a universal pre-K program, Pepsi has been among those leading the charge against it.

In March, the company sent notices to employees of around 100 upcoming layoffs because of decreased sales from the tax, and later that month, Pepsi said it was pulling 12-packs and 2-liter bottles from Philly stores.

So when Pepsi's ad fell flat on its face, the soda tax jokes — and legitimate gripes — about the company rolled in: