Political recuperation is when radical ideas or images are taken out of their original context, and reabsorbed by the dominant social system (neoliberal capitalism), neutralizing their subversive elements while maintaining their aesthetic. A simple example of this is the way protests are often depicted in films and advertisements as mere social gathering, rather than explicitly political actions. A protest in a Pepsi advert urges us to “join the conversation”, a vague gesture towards Black Lives Matter protests without the actual messages of police brutality and systemic racism.
Nothing but the window dressing remains. In the case of the Pepsi advert, the radical protest is being commodified. Activism is marketed as a lifestyle choice one could literally purchase.
Note: recuperation does not always involve direct or obvious profit-seeking.