Pepsi, the Art Garfunkel of the soft drink world, released an iPhone app for its AMP energy drink that drew criticism for being sexist. Amazingly, some company is trying to market their product by claiming to help boys attract girls. That’s a first in the advertising world, right?
The idea of the app itself is actually impressive, strategically. Pepsi and AMP know their target audience, and their target audience is interested in hooking up with young women and telling their friends – or at least sophomoric humor about hooking up with young women and telling their friends. So the app provides information and enables users to brag about their conquests. The content may be offensive, but the basics of the social strategy are sound: combining education with channels of communication.
But did it work? Though Pepsi apologized for the application, it has not been discontinued – and is currently listed among the top ten applications being downloaded from iTunes. As Mississippi State University opinion writer McNeill Williford points out, “The people at PepsiCo aren’t trying to push a male chauvinist agenda on anyone; they’re trying to sell drinks.”
Despite all the criticism – indeed, possibly because of it – Pepsi probably got what they wanted.