Sugar-water giant Pepsi, which sells a caffeine-laced concoction called AMP Energy, has apologised for releasing an iPhone app – The AMP UP Before You Score – that encouraged men to brag about their sexual conquests. It even has a “Brag List” function for automating the process of boasting about conquests on Twitter and Facebook.
The app also provided phone users with chat-up lines for “getting lucky” with 24 different types of women – including foreign exchange students and college girls.
A public apology was made by Amp on its Twitter feed (@ampwhatsnext) which introduced the app and its questionable content to a larger audience. Even worse is that the apology included a new Twitter hashtag, #pepsifail, and was retweeted on several other Pepsi feeds. That had the effect of not only causing more people to become aware of the app, but also increased the furor towards it and towards PepsiCo.
A post on Advertising Age noted that Pepsi’s strategy seems to be somewhat confused, as they haven’t pulled the app, and by linking the Amp Energy app to the Pepsi brand they’re beginning to get heat for the entire brand — not just the app.
An App Store review by iPhone developer Raven Zachary said it best: “Dear Pepsico, your iPhone app, AMP UP before you score, is offensive and is a great new case study for branded apps gone wrong.” You have to wonder, though, if this is actually working to introduce many more people to the Amp Energy brand.
Watch the video here:
On the other side, Twitter users are rejecting what they see as a half-hearted apology, and many indicate they plan on boycotting Pepsi goods.
Pepsi and AMP offered an apology over Twitter: AMPwhatsnext wrote,
Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women. We apologize if it’s in bad taste & appreciate your feedback. #pepsifail
The apology has only fueled anger, with many users expressing outrage at Pepsi for their app and half-hearted apology:
@metroidbaby:Though I appreciate the(non-)apology, @ampwhatsnext, damage is done. I won’t be buying Pepsi products for a very long time.
@cobra_DeEtta @AMPwhatsnext Your campaign is thoughtless and offensive despite the guise of juvenile humor to excuse it. Lame apology not accepted.
@gsborealtor @AMPwhatsnext #pepsifail You need more than give a half-hearted apology, pull the app
@tkells @AMPwhatsnext Do you know girls go to stupid lengths to get guys too? Your app would be cute if it spoke to both genders rather than only 1.