In the latest round of social media’s own “You make the call!” game regarding a social media campaign’s failure or genius enter Pepsi and its Amp Energy brand. There appears to be some buzz in social media circles about an iPhone app that Pepsi developed for the drink that is being called crass by some and ‘just entertainment’ by others. So you know, I could care less either way, I just think it makes for an interesting ‘live’ case study about social media and how it can be viewed, and as a result, manipulated.
Before I get going I want to say that the ‘buzz’ around this iPhone app dilemma is probably not nearly as big as we in the social media industry are going to make it out to be. Oh we will beat it to death but the actual influence of any of this beyond the industry is another topic of debate for another day. Having said that and drawn the ire of some social media types we can now move on.
AdAge reported yesterday that Pepsi had developed and distributed and app around its Amp Energy brand.
The app, “Amp Up Before You Score,” offers guys pickup lines and background info for 24 different types of women, ranging from “military chick” and “political girl” to “married” and “sorority girl.” The app pulls in information from Wikipedia on the punk movement for a girl who’s into punk rock, and offers suggestions and directions to vegan restaurants if you’ve got a “treehugger” on your hands. The free app was built by Interpublic Group of Cos. digital agency R/GA.
Patently offensive? To some. Funny? To others. So this is no different than anything else in the world since we all have the choice to engage or not with this type of marketing. Well, apparently there has been enough ‘backlash’ (I use this term with caution because I am a firm believer that Pepsi is getting the exact mileage that they wanted from this) to have Pepsi consider and execute a Twitter-culpa (that’s a mea culpa in the “Land that Biz Built”) using the hashtag ‘#pepsifail’.
If you search Twitter for the hashtag you get a mish-mash of results including quite a few German Twitterers and I can’t tell if they are angry or not.
So as not to give the brand any more free publicity for this let’s just say that Pepsi and its PR folks have ‘dragged’ in other brands like Mountain Dew and attached them to the ‘#pepsifail’ deal. So there is debate as to the wisdom of this as it relates to Pepsi as a whole blah, blah, blah, blah.
Here’s the bottom line. It is likely that mostly social media junkies care about this or even know about this at all. Social media folks like energy drinks. How else do you stay up all hours of the night and day digesting this stuff? As a result, some of them might actually consider Amp over their Red Bull or whatever. The downloads of the app went from 150 or so to about 17,000 in a matter of days. Is that because all of a sudden iPhone users who love Amp found this out? Not likely. It’s more like there are social media folks who downloaded the app to see what the hubbub was and are now aware of the brand. Hook, line and sinker. Well, done Pepsi.
Let’s face it, if they were really concerned they would pull the app from the AppStore right? Well, they have gone so far as to say that they have no intention of doing that. Are they making a stand so that the frat boy crowd of America can have their apps or are they just waiting for more coverage like this to create more downloads? You do the math make the call.