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PepsiCo Kills 'Amp Up Before You Score' iPhone App

Last Updated Oct 23, 2009 12:05 PM EDT

After a week of controversy, PepsiCo has decided to do away with an iPhone application made by Amp energy drink. The application, called "Amp Up Before You Score" let players choose pick-up lines to use on a bunch of different types of women -- i.e. "sorority girl," "nerd," "treehugger," etc. -- and then keep track of and brag about their successful conquests. It was attacked from many corners as sexist and crude.

The most interesting thing about the story is the role played by Twitter and the simple tag "#pepsifail." I'd never even heard of Amp before this controversy, and the fact that a random energy drink company was getting flak for a sexist iPhone app would probably not have drawn a whole lot of attention.

But when Amp issued an apology via Twitter, it included the fateful "pepsifail" tag. This brought the story to the attention of a much bigger audience and firmly connected PepsiCo with the debacle. Then PepsiCo, Pepsi and Mountain Dew's Twitter pages all published their own apologies, raising even greater awareness of the Amp app.

I'm not quite sure what the lesson is to be learned here, but I'm intrigued by the cynical theory of Empower Media Marketing's Kevin Dugan. He speculated that PepsiCo might have deliberately waited to pull the app until it had generated as much attention as possible; that way Amp would get the publicity but PepsiCo would still be able to come out indignant enough to save face.
  • Katherine Glover