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Another Corporate Backtrack: Pepsi Pulls Controversial App

Another Corporate Backtrack: Pepsi Pulls Controversial App

Earlier this week we reported on an iPhone app that Pepsi created for its energy drink Amp. The app was designed to help guys score with women and then brag about it. Many were outraged by the app, claiming it was sexist and offensive. We took a poll asking if Pepsi should pull the ap and 71 percent of respondents said yes. Thirteen percent of the respondents were leaning yes and a combined 17 percent answered no or leaning no. Yesterday, we learned the beverage giant had indeed pulled the plug on the Amp app. The company issued a statement that said pulling the app was “an appropriate course of action.”

 

This corporate reversal and ambiguous statement of accountability seems to be a trend right now. Remember the picture from Ralph Lauren that was retouched resulting in the model’s head appearing bigger than her pelvis? The clothing manufacturer addressed the issue by saying, “After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.” Were they addressing the fact the brand was hurt or that the image was distorted?

 

Yahoo was the other major brand doing spin control this week. Following news that the company’s Open Hack Day in Taiwan included lap dancers, the head of the Yahoo Development Network issued this statement, “I wanted to acknowledge the public reaction generated by the images of female dancers at our Taiwan Open Hack Day this past weekend. Our hack events are designed to give developers an opportunity to learn about our APIs and technologies. As many folks have rightly pointed out, the “Hack Girls” aspect of our Taiwan Hack Day is not reflective of that spirit or purpose. And it’s certainly not the message we want to send about our values here at Yahoo!. Hack Days are about making everyone feel welcome, including women coders and technologists.” Once again, it was not an apology. It was more a statement of regret.

 

 

Perhaps the corporate attorneys will not allow these companies to say “sorry.” But more than counsel on the back end, these companies need guidance on the front end to advise them that women expect better.

 

 

 

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Liz O'Donnell

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21 comments

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10:26PM PST on Dec 15, 2009

Sex and advertising go hand in hand. I even find sexist ads that are making fun of themselves funny.(Sonic for example; Funny ads, awful food) Scoring women not so funny. However if I was a '10' I may have a different opinion. There is a diference between funny and wrong or mean. Advertising walks a fine line and they often get it so very wrong.

10:44AM PST on Nov 15, 2009

Ugh, pepsi,
Proudly supporting KFC, killing humans' health, and making sexist and inappropriate adds since 1898.

10:12AM PST on Nov 1, 2009

Everyone spread the word
Google Bootstraps Fisher Ron Paul 2012

11:57AM PDT on Oct 27, 2009

"Business is business" is a 'truism' which is basically meaningless - it is an excuse for doing nothing. The brave people over the years who risked their very lives fighting for an end to slavery, to an end to child labor, and an end to segregated schools did not accept injustice - they stood up and FOUGHT AGAINST INJUSTICE.
Pepsi and all other powerful big business oppressors have vested interests in squashing the rights of us 'ordinary' working-class people and white-color workers. We are scum to them. As long as we give them "props" for oppressing us, and continue to look up to them, we are screwed. I boycott many companies due to their rotten policies - and I try my best to check out the behaviors of big companies impacting on my life. STAND UP FOR JUSTICE - STAND UP TO BIG-BIZ OPPRESSORS AND TO RULING-CLASS GREED AND CRUELTY.

11:44AM PDT on Oct 26, 2009

So do what I do get TIVO record all your shows and fastforward past all those pesky mindnumbing ads!

7:14PM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

Even better yet - why not boycott Pepsi based upon their negative environmental and economic impact on the world community - and the fact that Pepsi and other "soft" drinks are crapola for your health and especially for the health of kids?!!! Now that obesity and diabetes threaten to destroy what's left of our atrocious "health" system here in the USA, the last thing any of us need to be drinking is sewage-spew like Pepsi! I vastly prefer drinking delicious beverages like organic apple juice myself and it's a lot better deal for the money, compared to empty calories and teeth-rotting Pepsi slime in a can called a "soft" drink!

5:31PM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

Better yet, why not boycott all Pepsi products until they change their ways and issue a sincere apology? The whole company seems to be in a big moral decline with a cavalier attitude regarding their public image. They may be big but we, the public are bigger.

5:24PM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

Advertisements are becoming more and more disgusting. We had a total freak out over Janet's 2 second reveal of her boob, (I missed it) but sex is in nearly every ad. From the couple in separate bathtubs to the couple sweating after using a lubricant and looking like canary eating cats. We can stomach Bob playing Santa with women dying to sit on his lap (they must be desperate!) and Victoria Secret models nearly nude so why is the current spate of ads so surprising? Thank goodness for the mute button, now if only we could block the visual and not miss the program.

2:05PM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

At times I find myself thinking what a difference women could make if they would quit taking their gender so seriously and get out and DO something for their sisters. Pepsi got a load of free publicity from this blog/comments.

1:20PM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

This is a symptom of a country that is run by men that do not want equal rights for women. We have a government (up to this point) that has condoned this inequity. Until that changes this kind of thing and worse will continue to go on. We as a culture have to be more vocal regarding demanding equal rights and treatment for women in the united states of america. America is not first in education, health care, a good working democracy and equality for all people. Until we stand together as a community and say this is enough we will continue to have this and worse going on. We do have power as consumers and our voices to take a stand and make a difference. Start talking and start writing! Barbara H.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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