What happens when you release 100 cats into an IKEA for a night?
The final cut:
Carbonated beverages are no stranger to outlandish and controversial behavior, however this might be new terrain for the non-alcoholic variety. Pepsi owned energy drink Amp has released an iphone app to give anyone in need of a female companion a competitive edge, it’s been nicknamed the iFornicate.
The app, Amp Up Before You Score, has been the topic of much controversy the last few days. In fact the twitter hashtag #pepsifail is a virtual cornucopia of comments ranging from support to disgust. My favorite blog post title so far is: Douchebaggery: There’s an App for That. Here are some tweets from both sides of the aisle:
“Can’t even believe how amazing the Amp App is… Now I know why I prefer Pepsi to Coke”
“Pepsi scores plenty of buzz by offending 50% of the population with new app. No such thing as bad press?”
“Interesting article abt #mobilemarketing gone wrong great app tho LOL! #Pepsifail apology does more harm than good”
Here’ a another fun tweet, and corresponding blog post, by @laureni “#Pepsi suffers memory lapse, forgets it’s not Burger King: [link]” The post points out that this kind of stunt would be expected by CP+B not R/GA, who designed the app.
So what would an app do that causes such controversy? I mean its not shaking babies. The app allows the user to determine which type of female he will be targeting that evening; he has 24 to choose from. After her denomination has been determined – sorority girl, twins, Out-Of-Your-League Girl, etc – you can find out what that person might be in to, what to talk about, how to approach her, pick-up lines, and whatnot. After you finish the evening you can add her name to a list and broadcast the details out through twitter or facebook.
This app oddly reminds me of last weeks episode of The Big Bang Theory where Howard and Raj decide to dress Goth and go to a Goth Club to pick up women. They even checked wikipedia for information – ahh, how art parallels life.
Although Amp apologized through its twitter page by saying “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.” many people feel this apology wasn’t enough. In the course of all this publicity, negative or otherwise, the app is remaining available for download – at least for now. I’m sure there will be more news on this in the following days, I here NPR has even picked it up.
I think this new spot from American Express is both clever and fun – I mean, who doesn’t like anthropomorphosised products? I know when I look around I see faces on many different products, and it looks like I’m not the only one. American Express took this idea and added a story around it. I like the frowning shower curtain and how the hanger is swinging in the “…they can be stolen” shot, as if the item was just taken. Toward the end of the commercial there are two shots are nearly perfect – one is a smiling chair (0:33), the other is filmed on a boat (0:45). Not all the images are clearly faces, at about 48 seconds in to the commercial there is an image of a baggage claim, which is a little too obscure, it took a few viewings to determine where the face was hiding. The music, an excerpt from Suite for Cello No.1 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach, was perfect as it can conveys both a somber tone and happy tone equally.
This ad has stirred a little controversy since it came out last month. Many praise it for the simplicity of the imagery, beautiful tonalities of the music (excerpt from Suite for Cello No.1 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach?), and simple message, but some are crying foul. The photographic duo of brothers Francois and Jean Robert have produced 3 books – Face to Face (1996), Faces (2000), and Find a Face (2004) – which show everyday objects appearing as faces. There are individuals who are claiming that this ad is a blatant plagiarism of the Robert’s photographic genius; the brothers are not a part of these accusations at this time. Below are images from both the commercial and the works of the Robert brothers – remarkably similar I must admit.
Whether you look at this spot as a beautifully simple expression of everyday objects set to a story, or as an offensive piece of derivative commercialization, you have to admit that the use of such pedestrian objects in a creative way is well done. I enjoyed the commercial; it has entertained me, and even if it is not an intentional piracy of Francois and Jean Robert’s work it has at least introduced me to it, and for that I am grateful.
Amidst the debate of national healthcare reform, one television commercial really stands out. Regardless of your opinions on this controversial topic, this commercial has the perfect metaphor for AARP’s message; an ambulance running lights and sirens, getting cut-off at every turn – brilliant. I didn’t even listen to the words the first few times I saw the commercial, I watched the imagery and instantly got it. Maybe I connect with the spot because of my brief stint as a state certified Emergency Medical Technician and 8 years as a part-time health and safety educator, or maybe the symbolism is just that strong. Either way I though it was well done.
In the past few days this commercial has stirred more controversy than most advertisements ever will, here’s some comments:
From AARP.org on August 17th & 18th:
“My first impression was laughter. I thought all of those cars were rich ambulance-chasing trial lawyers fighting to get a new client.”
“The AARP commercial looks pretty good – it takes on the myths and facts. Take a look.
I love the comments about the use of American cars in the commercial (some people reallllllly have too much time on their hands to look for conspiracy theories. They’re probably disappointed that black helicopters aren’t featured as well.)”
“WE WERE MASSIVELY OFFENDED by the commercial we saw tonight showing an ambulance being cut off by expensive cars at every turn. SHAME ON AARP for thinking that we are so gullible as to be influenced by such obvious tripe.”
I didn’t know the Dodge Caliber, the car most visible throughout the commercial, was considered an “expensive car”, but okay.
From YouTube on August 17th:
“This video is awsome it really shows how good the government has got at sponsoring propaganda!! 2 thumbs up!!”
“I hope AARP paid enough to make this commercial because I definitely think less of them after having seen it.”
Pretty strong opinions for a commercial sponsored by a non-governmental organization (and interest group). Whatever your feelings about the healthcare reform bill are, you have to admit that this is a strong commercial with unmistakable symbolism – people getting in the way of healthcare.