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AMP UP Pepsi Iphone App – “Before You Score”

31 October 2009 One Comment
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AMP UP / Pepsi Iphone App “Before You Score” Gone too Far?

Pepsi has been known as a company not afraid to push limits and try out new innovative methods in reaching it’s potential consumers. Have they gone to far?

“Before You Score” AMP UP

AMP UP Pepsi - Iphone App
AMP’s latest attempt to utilize social media became a huge controversial issue. AMP is an energy drink company owned by Pepsi. They have always utilized guy-centric advertising focusing on extreme sports and women. Their marketing approach is a tamer version of another company called AXE who uses extremely risque and degrading advertising.

AMP launched an Iphone app called “before you score” that helps men score with women. Within the application itself, the app breaks down women into 24 categories and provides various pickup lines and suggestions. Examples of such categories are “Rebound Girl”, “Twins”, “Foreign Exchange Student” and even “Married”. Depending on the type of person she is, it is suggesting specific things to say as well can be used to find specific places to eat. The whole point is to convince the subject that you share her interest with the overall goal of getting them into bed. The iTunes store has a description that says “roadmap to success with your favorite kinds of women”.

Let’s think about the culture pepsi is promoting here.

  • Utilize woman’s naivety
  • Rebound Girl? Get them while they are vulnerable
  • Married? – Speaks for itself
  • All you need is the right words and moves
  • It is normal and fun to try to seduce and take advantage of woman.
  • The point of these encounters is to “score”
  • “Helps getting success with favorite kinds of women.” – It isn’t to “connect” with a WOMAN, but “success” with various women?

The stance by Pepsi and their supporters is simple – AMP was just doing something humorous and it shouldn’t be taken seriously. However I would argue that it is exactly these type of things that influence what we view to be the norm of culture. When we watch promiscuous lifestyles on TV, watch racy music videos, suggestive commercials and see an app that tells you, it’s fun to pick up woman – yes it can be humorous but at what cost? There was a time a company would not even dream of producing such an app but the media has helped shift the culture dramatically over the past 10 years. It is possible for a person to play with it just for it’s humor value – but the kind of culture Pepsi is highlighting is simply degrading to woman. It is a testament to our current culture that there would even be a debate an app about trying to sleep with women is acceptable.

Don’t just Score. Brag about it! Tell Your Friends

But it doesn’t stop there. It also has a feature that allows the user to brag about their successes over Email, Facebook or Twitter. It is literally a “brag” button. The app’s description says to “flaunt” your conquests and create a “Brag List” they have gotten “lucky” with. Share your conquest with all your friends. Let’s further review the message:

  • Women are objects of conquest
  • “Scoring” is good, something to be proud about
  • It’s ok to brag about your sex life, forget how it affects the other person

AMP Pepsi clearly was hoping to create a lot buzz – it did. There were a fair share of people who enjoyed the app, but many who were upset and offended. AMP ended up apologizing for the App – “if” it offended anybody. However they did not pull down the app until many days later after more pressure had mounted.

AMP Up - Pepsi Iphone App

Various Responses to Pepsi AMP Iphone App

Well, Pepsi got what it wanted. Everyone across the online world and the offline started to discuss whether Pepsi had gone too far. Far more interesting then the app itself, was the varying responses. It really clues us into the worldview of our current culture.

Below are some comments from various sites.
Think about what kind of worldview the commentors have about the culture they live in and what they consider to be is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable.

Amp UP “Before You Score” was a Bad Idea

“[Apology?] too late for that! But honestly, the world considers this type of behavior normal.”

“What a bunch of fools. Even their twitter ‘apology’ uses the crass phrase ‘… pick up women.’ when they could have chosen something more appropriate like “… connect with a woman.”

It’s not a full apology when you use the word “if,” blame the offended for being offended, and continue the activity for which you are apologizing.

Does anyone notice, everyone is condemning the lack of tact in their apology but not the app itself? I also agree the apology was very general and AMP never took ownership over what they did. They pointed at the people offended and simply said sorry if it happen to offend you. Here is a little more transparent translation: “We don’t think what we did was wrong, we were just trying to be funny, but hey if your the type to get offended by this, then sorry to you, but seriously we still don’t think what we did was wrong”

But how come so few people are not criticizing the App and simply stating the fact that it is WRONG and degrading to women?

Let’s see some more responses below – it’ll give you a clearer picture.

What is the big deal? It’s humor, don’t be so serious!

“The app is clearly good taste – the items on the demo video show it’s about conversation starters. If you wanna get hung up about a person’s desire to have sex, perhaps you should ponder how you came into being. For now, if you’re offended, accept the apology. If you’re not offended, game on.”

“Everyone just likes to complain about stuff, but no one takes humor in anything anymore. We’ve become this Politically Correct bunch of rejects…”

“I agree with your assessment of this whole situation. I don’t think anybody was REALLY gonna use this app seriously. It was just something that you could, liek, joke with your friends about.”

“When I found out about it this morning, I just started LOL-ing. Now that I see that there’s such offense to the whole thing, I’m in shock”

“People are taking it all too seriously as AMP has said themselves it was intended to be humorous, not an application with a serious use. People saying things like ‘these lines would never work’ completely missed the point.”

“The app was crude and mysogynistic to be sure. But from what I read it was also damn funny.”

“Everyone needs to lighten up and suck it up. Who promised you a life without offense anyway?”

So wait – It was meant to be humorous, so that makes it ok? It is ok to produce applications that are degrading to women, that clearly offended a lot of people – because hey, the “intentions” were to be humorous?

That line of thought is a very dangerous way of thinking. Something being humorous does not make it okay to do. It is the same reason other controversial apps like “baby shaker” “iSnort”, “iBoobs”, “Dope Wars” “Hottest Girls” are simply wrong – and I believe were all rightfully removed. Shaking a baby for fun, pretending to snort drugs, playing a game of selling and buying drugs, looking at pictures of woman’s breast or bodies are all wrong regardless of whether you think it’s funny. A person may like the app, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. If a person truly believes in the statement that something is acceptable as long as the intention was humor or fun then the person must be able to defend that statement for situations you don’t like.

This is the same kind of reasoning that is used by media to produces immoral or racy shows simply because it brings in the ratings and the revenue. Forget the negative influences on culture and children, people like it and people think it’s fun!

It’s a Smart Marketing Move – Good for them!

“Love the transparency here. Honestly, it’s the first time in a while that I’ve heard anything about Pepsi so kudos for pushing the envelope and coming up with a creative concept that people are talking about…”

“I think the app fit the demographic perfect – I’m surprised they would issue an apology….”

They can’t pull the app yet. It hasn’t completed the mission. This thing was staged long before release. “There is no such thing as bad publicity”. Well to modernize the phrase there is no such thing as bad social media.

Pepsi can play the apologetic parent by coming out and saying they forced Amp to pull the app. Lots of buzz then kudos for “doing the right thing”. They are going to say they wanted to give Amp room to develop it’s own marketing but this is simply going to far.

I would say this is the most reasonable response I’ve read yet, Paul. I have to agree that I thought it just looked like a well crafted foray into “negative” publicity. It looks like a perfect example of using internet link baiting strategies (controversy), for publicity and it is clearly working like a charm.

Depending on the response, Pepsi can play the hero or AMP the villian or either could take the victim’s role, depending on which direction they decide to go next. Honestly, and this is the best part, since mob mentality is pretty predictable, the next step they take will definitely offend one or more sub-groups – who will instantly forget, as quickly as the next new “fiasco” becomes a headline. But in turn it will absolutely endear at least one or more niches, as well – who will remain loyal, because of Pepsi/AMP’s “heart.”

I think it’s brilliant, since the success has already been had. No matter what they do next, there is one thing that has already happened. You are paying attention to them today, when yesterday you were not. On top of that, like any good shepherd, they have guided the sheep to do exactly what they can always expect sheep to do.

Yes it’s a shrewd marketing move – but does that make it ok?

But Women Objectify Men! Wouldn’t be such a big deal if other way around!

“Women objectify men too, they’re just more circumspect about it.”

True, women objectify men as well, but that doesn’t make objectifying women acceptable. Both are wrong!
There were several comments I’ve seen that makes this argument.

Responses of Real Men & Women

“Real men wouldn’t find this ad offensive, and real women would realize it was a joke.”

I sure wouldn’t want to be around these real men and women lest be married to one. It seems to me that the proper response to that which is wrong is to be offended. If someone showed this app to your daughter or worse tried to use it on your daughter, wouldn’t you be offended? I can’t speak for women, but I would assume any women with dignity should be at least somewhat appalled. No?

  • What do you think?
  • What is the proper response? Should we be offended or take it as something humorous?
  • Are you offended?
  • Do you think something like this contributes to forming a person’s view of others and of lifestyles?
  • Please let us know what you think!

One Comment »

  • Dora said:

    I agree that Pepsi went too far with this one. However, I’m deeply saddened and disturbed as this seems to be a growing trend among mainstream advertisement. One of the more recent Hershey Chocolate Co. items was “Fling,” a chocolate whose target audience is women in their teens & 20’s. The entire marketing campaign surrounds this idea of don’t feel guilty for “having a fling”. Many of my friends and I wrote to Hershey’s voicing our disappointment and outrage and thought they wrote back letters of apology, i have yet to see a change in their marketing message.

    It’s truly disturbing that these views are becoming more and more mainstream. I really think that as responsible adults, we should take initiative in voicing our views to these companies. Though they may not change or pull their advertisements, at the very least they will know that there is a population out there that does not support their stance.

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