Pepsis rapid PR response wrong move?
PepsiCo’s embrace of web 2.0 quick response PR may have landed it in hot water.
American brand Amp, an energy drink owned by PepsiCo, released an app entitled ‘Amp Up Before You Score’. The app includes a list of female stereotypes, from ‘Aspiring Actress’ to ‘Sorority Girl’ and ‘Cougar’ to ‘Married’, and offers advice for ‘picking up’ each. The advice differs based on stereotype and ranges from ‘Suggested Alibis She Can Use’ (for the ‘Married’ stereotype) to live content like ‘Your Favorite Songs’ (for the ‘Indie Girl’ stereotype). Beyond that, it allows you to ‘Brag’ and keep a list of conquests.
Unsurprisingly, there was contained online backlash to the app and @AMPwhatsnext issued an apology on Twitter to its 1061 followers, introducing a #pepsifail hashtag. This was followed by apologies by @Pepsi (15,057 followers), @Mtn_dew (17,725 followers) and @PepsiCo (4525 followers). Industry commentators and bloggers are speculating whether it was wise to spread the damage across the company’s more mature brands.
The free app was built by R/GA and is still available, causing some to question how sincere the apology could be.
The positioning has been compared to Unilever’s ‘Lynx Effect’ campaign.