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Pepsi apologizes for sexist iPhone app, inadvertently fans the flames

PepsiCo's Amp Energy brand stirred up a lot of hatred in the last couple of months when the "AMP UP Before You Score" app [iTunes Link] was released. This app, branded as sexist and inappropriate by a lot of people who rated it in the App Store, provides guys with cards to "identify her type," pickup lines that are useful with a particular "type" of woman, and ways of keeping track and spreading the news via social networking if you "get lucky."

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.

[via AdAge]

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