Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pepsi AMP App Has Me Amp'd For Coke

Dear Pepsi AMP,

As a single woman, I'm offended. And I'm sure you know why (but I won't link to it, sorry). But you've obviously made a calculated decision that you don't care. You paid some fancy-schmancy, testosterone-laden, eternal frat-boy mentality PR firm to come up with your newest marketing campaign to try to get consumers of your product laid.

Setting aside for a moment the obviously sexist nature of this marketing campaign, let's look at exactly the man you are marketing to. He must be the dude who walks up to a woman and asks "I heard milk does a body good, but damn girl, how much you been drinking?" or "Can I put you in a doggie bag? I want to take you home and have you later tonight." or when he sees a woman walking through the rain says "Be careful! Sugar melts!" He's probably also the gent who drives the ultra-clean convertible sports car because he thinks it makes him look sexy (it doesn't). And for certain he's the bloke who, when he speaks to a woman, rather than looking at her face, spends the entire time staring at her breasts. Finally, he's the wisenheimer who's most impressive skill is that he can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his tongue (um, not so much - it just tells us this boy has a LOT of time on his hands). In other words, he's the guy who isn't so sure of himself and is afraid to simply walk up to a woman and have a real conversation.

I have never in my entire life met a woman who has fallen for any of this crap. Because believe it or not, genuine, authentic (and yes, sometimes awkward) conversation with us is sexy, but using some canned pick-up lines based on the 24 bad stereotypes in your latest marketing campaign is not. In fact, nothing makes this single woman run for the hills faster than some guy walking up and saying "Did you clean your pants with Windex? I can practically see myself in them."

The worst part of this app is that it encourages men to be total dogs and brag about their conquests on Facebook and Twitter, using the women's names, the date and any details they remember. Um, hello, Pepsi AMP? Nothing screams "I'm a jackass and can't get laid" and turns women off more than a guy who brags by name about the women he's been with all over his Facebook page.

Pepsi AMP, you're not doing women any favors by putting us into these 24 narrow stereotypes, but more than that, you're making life tougher for guys. Women aren't so simple that we can be broken down into just 24 static stereotypes and frankly neither are men. Women like men who are confident, even when they fumble a little. A guy who relies on some cheesy schtick from your new app, may find a horny woman who pities him once in awhile, but he's never going to learn how to meet a real woman. He'll never understand why he fails over and over again.

Now I get the stereotype about all men just wanting to get laid. And you obviously do too. But I know men are more complex than that and I know you know that too. So why be so condescending to both men and women in your new marketing campaign?

Of course, it crosses my mind that you've done this whole thing for the shock value and all the free publicity you're getting from the (mostly female) outraged bloggers and 24-hour cable news channels. After all, there's no such thing as bad press, right?

This morning I hadn't even heard of your product. But now, when I think of Pepsi, I think "sexist," "condescending," "anti-woman," and "blow hard." From now on, I'll stick with Coke because "it's the real thing," just the way I like the men in my life.

Little Merry Sunshine

UPDATE: Pepsi issued an "apology" but did not remove the AMP iPhone app, which I think really boils down to saying "We're sorry you're offended, but we don't care."

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