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Pepsi Apologizes (Kinda) for Sexist iPhone App

Pepsi's latest ad campaign for its latest energy drink has certainly succeeded in getting a lot of people "amped" up -- and crying sexism.

As part of the soda company's efforts to promote its energy drink Amp, Pepsi released an iPhone app titled 'Amp Up Before You Score,' a how-to manual for helping men hook up with women. The app allows the user to choose one (or more!) of the 24 "types" of woman he would like to pursue on a given night. The "women" are displayed as curvaceous, cartoonish renditions of each branch of Pepsi's female phylum, running the gamut from "artist" to "military girl" to "sorority girl." After Casanova chooses the appropriate type, he's provided with a list of lines to drop in his pursuit, along with a SparkNotes-like primer of various subjects that a specific girl would likely talk about. If the guy's in a "punk" mood, the app leads him to a Wikipedia entry on punk rock. If he's feeling more Janis Joplin and less Joan Jett, he's provided with his own "tree-hugger" toolbox, replete with tips on "how to be a hippie." And, as the proverbial cherry on this sexist sundae, the Amp app even sports a special "brag list" feature, which allows the user to keep track of his, um, score, note the name and date of every conquest, and jot down "whatever details [he] can remember." (That sound you just heard was chivalry flat-lining.)

Pepsi, of course, issued an apology via the AMP Twitter feed: "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." The company hasn't gone so far as to pull the app, despite any negative feedback from consumers, and we sorta understand the reasoning. The Huffington Post reports that the apology merely fueled the fire, with one Twitter user saying, "@cobra_DeEtta @AMPwhatsnext Your campaign is thoughtless and offensive despite the guise of juvenile humor to excuse it. Lame apology not accepted." Check out #pepsifail for more.

Here, Pepsi is obviously marketing to a specific, energy drink-consuming customer who would presumably find something like this useful, as well as to a larger market of people who would find humor in it. By playing up the stereotype of the taurine consumer as a hormonally charged, uber-promiscuous male, Pepsi is actually using a pretty clever marketing technique of promotion via self-effacement. Still, we're surprised that such a colossal, savvy corporation would risk alienating a chunk of its audience for the sake of a niche product. [From: PCMag, via Huffington Post],feedConfig,entry&id=489072&pid=489071&uts=1255444994
Anti-Corporate Protests and Boycotts

Anti-Corporate Protests and Boycotts

    Motrin Ad Pulled Due to Online Protests
    In November of last year, mothers took to the Twitter-streets in protest of a Motrin video advertisement that, they claimed, belittled young mothers. In no time, Johnson and Johnson took down the ad, posting a letter of apology.

    Apple Pulls "You Can't Be Too Thin" Ads
    In 2007, after airing an ill-advised ad campaign for their new line of iMacs that featured the tag line "You Can't Be Too Thin," Apple received innumerable complaints, including one from the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness. The ads were promptly pulled.

    Boycotting Sellers Dent eBay's Business
    In February of last year, eBay sellers banded in a boycott after the Web site laid claim to higher commissions on sold goods and eliminated sellers' ability to give negative feedback to buyers. In just one week, eBay's listings dropped by 13 percent.

    Students Stage Virtual Protest on Facebook
    Disturbed by HSBC's suspension of their free overdraft protection, collegiate customers of the bank launched a Facebook protest in 2007. Backed by the National Union of Students, the online protest won out as HSBC decided to maintain the policy.

    Facebook Lactivists Take Protests to the Street Over Breastfeeding Pictures
    Last month, self-described "lactivists" set up shop outside Facebook's headquarters to protest the site's removal of all images containing breastfeeding mothers.

Tags: app, app store, AppStore, iphone, iphone app, IphoneApp, pepsi, sexism



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