MILWAUKEE—PepsiCo Inc. has retreated under heavy fire from feminists and finally pulled an iPhone app that they claim stereotypes women, but not before the firestorm had quieted down and the company felt it had reaped all the benefit it could from the controversy.
The application, called "Amp up before you score,” was developed to help promote a new soft drink called AMP—which is apparently being marketed to men. The game provided pick-up lines and other tools men could use to seduce a variety of female types—24 in total—including the bookworm, the cougar, the punk rock girl and the women's studies major. It also included a "Brag" feature that encouraged users to include name, dates and other details about successful hookups or failed conquests. It launched Oct. 12 and almost immediately earned the scorn of feminists around the country.
It even earned a pre-release Oct. 11 irate post on Gawker Media’s Jezebel. “If the rationale is that the target audience for AMP energy drink is filled with pathetic douchebags,” fumed the poster, “then perhaps instead of continuing to feed this audience and encourage this kind of behavior, we should offer them something different and stop shoving bro culture down everyone's throats as if it's totally acceptable to Tucker Max-it out at all times. Until then, the best we can do is to mock it mercilessly; if people actually think this kind of thing is attractive and effective, they'll continue doing it, but if it's ripped apart as often as possible, the "awesomeness" factor of stupid crap like this might be dulled a bit.”
An anti-AMP app Twitter campaign was also launched, prompting Pepsi to issue an apology, but it still refused to remove the app from the marketplace, until yesterday.
According to an Associated Press story written Oct. 22, “ ‘There was a lot of online chatter about the application last week and PepsiCo didn't remove the application then so the talk would continue,’ said Kevin Dugan, director of marketing at Empower Media Marketing in Cincinnati. He suspects the chatter has died down—in fact, he said he hadn't heard about the application for days—and that's why PepsiCo removed it. ’The true benefit had been realized by PepsiCo with it generating all that buzz,’ he said.”
So it goes in the delightful world of corporate public relations. Still, the Pepsi app hardly takes the prize for edgy sexual content. PC World’s JR Raphael was thoughtful enough to list five others that cream the soft-drink maker in the tasteless department.
Booty Gong—Designed to let you "ring the gong" and notify your friends after a "successful booty call."
Passion—Uses the iPhone mic and accelerator to rate your under-the-covers performance.
Girlfriend Keeper—Specify your relationship level and desired contact frequency, and the program will send your gal pal automated messages at the appropriate intervals.
PMS Buddy—Helps guys track their girlfriends' cycles so they can be extra "considerate" when their ladies are "feeling a bit irritable."
Elite Text Game—Generates attraction-building text messages to help you "connect and chat with the hottie whose number you got."