Pepsi, challenged: A bad campaign from a marketer big enough to know better


Chalk it up as a Pepsi challenge for the digital age: how to overcome a viral-marketing campaign gone bad. PepsiCo (PEP), the world's second-largest soda maker, is coming under fire for an edgy iPhone application meant to promote its AMP energy drink. Instead of inspiring 20 somethings to buy the orange-flavored AMP, the brand is getting flack from some consumers who call the application sexist and degrading.

A promotional video demos the free iPhone app, AMP UP Before You Score. Aimed at young male consumers, AMP UP coaches users on how to score with 24 categories of women. Once the user decides whether to hit on a cougar, a sorority girl, or 22 other stereotypes, the app suggests restaurants and pick-up lines -- and, like most viral-marketing campaigns, it includes a social-media feature that lets users "brag" about their conquests: "You got it? Flaunt it. Keep your buddies in the loop on email, Facebook or Twitter."