In response to mounting criticism, PepsiCo yesterday apologized for an iPhone app that many argue is offensive and objectifying to women.
The controversial app is called “AMP UP Before Your Score“, and was recently released as a way to promote Pepsi’s AMP energy drink. The app itself is essentially a cheat sheet that supplies guys with all the info and lines they need in order to approach a wide variety of women. The app description gives some examples of how the app might be used:
Is she an Artist? Quote some Picasso. Indie Rocker? Here are her favorite songs. Sorority Girl? Good thing you know the Greek alphabet. Know what makes her tick before you open your mouth, so she’ll like what she hears when you do.
The app is free, so we decided to download to see what all the fuss is about, strictly for testing purposes of course.
When you open up the app, you’re greeted with a screen that displays 4 drawings of women – an aspiring actress, an artist, an athlete and a bookworm. You can then scroll down to take a look at all the 24 different types of women, a long list which includes a Cougar, a Military Girl, and a Women’s Studies Major.
After randomly flipping through the offerings, we decide to stop on the Foreign Exchange Student to see what sort of advice this app has to offer a young American lad looking to talk to a hot Czechoslovakian exchange student. We tapped on the appropriate picture of a girl wearing a beret (nothing spells foreign like a beret!) and are then given four options to choose from – Lines, Your Favorite Places in Europe, News of the World, and Help Her Stay in the U.S.
We select the lines option and the following list appears:
“English is such a brutish tongue.”
“These Americans know nothing about cuisine”
“Finally, someone from a civilized country”
And from there, things get a whole lot cheezier with gems such as “Let’s try a little cultural exchange” and “I’ll be your host family anytime.”
Exploring the app further, it’s apparent that the developers actually did come research. Upon selecting “Your Favorite Places in Europe”, users are greeted with the following list of exotic locales.
Seveille, Spain, for the architecture
Palermo, Sicily, for the pastry
Helinski, Finland, for the pickled herring
Urtrecht, the Netherlands, best cheese in Europe
Berlin, German, for the art scene
Cardiff, Wales, for peace and quiet
Marseilles, France, for the blooming of the wildflowers
Not too shabby!
Many of the other categories of women we explored on the app contain pickup lines that are destined to fail, and hilarious “informational” tidbits that are good for a cheap laugh. The “Goth” girl, for example, contains an entry filled with “dreary quotes” while the “Indie” girl selection has a built in “Thrift Store Locator.”
From that perspective, the app seems to be a harmless way for guys who can’t get any action to at least have some fun trying. But one feature that many groups are singling out as being particularly objectifying is the “Brag” feature.
Each type of girl in the app has a “Brag” button, that when selected allows, users to add information about a particular girl they presumably hooked up with, or at least tried to talk to. The app description has this to say about the feature:
Get lucky? Add her to your Brag List. You can include a name, date and whatever details you remember.
You got it? Flaunt it. Keep your buddies in the loop on email, Facebook or Twitter.
Alright, that’s where the line in the sand is drawn, in our humble opinion.
It’s one thing to have an app chock full of clever and cheesy pickup lines, but it’s an entirely different story to let users write down the names and details of their sexual conquests and share that info with the world with the simple tap of a button.
Not surprisingly, the app has been targeted for being sexist and misogynistic, and it even prompted a Twitter revolt under the hashtag #pepsifail, a move which eventually attracted Pepsi’s attention and resulted in them issuing an apology, albeit via Twitter.
The apology reads,
Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women. We apologize if it’s in bad taste & appreciate your feedback.
Pepsi, however, hasn’t removed the app from iTunes and hasn’t indicated if it has any plans to do so in the near future. When pressed on the matter, a Pepsi spokesman stated:
The application was designed to entertain and appeal to AMP’s target. We’ll continue to monitor the feedback from all parties and act accordingly.
You can check out a video of the app in action below.
In the end, we’re of the mind that if Pepsi removes the sharing features via Facebook and Twitter, then the app, while offensive to some, deserves to stay put on iTunes.