As Kendall Jenner could well tell you, Pepsi isn’t always bang-on with its marketing.
And the soft drink maker’s latest attempts to ally the brand with, heaven forbid, the coronavirus is its latest in a string of branding mishaps.
People wanting to be tested for CV-19 in Orlando, Florida in the States are now being directed to testing stations – at Walmart! – and all sponsored by Pepsi!
Me, in the early 2000s: Idiocracy is a mean-spirited movie and is wrong on how intelligence develops in humans over time
Me, 2020: hmmmmm https://t.co/iFyhtWfijL
— Philipp Bayer (@PhilippBayer) May 21, 2020
The OOH campaign features a giant picture of an ice-cold Pepsi, accompanied by the tagline “That’s what I like”.
Images of the billboard soon made their way online and, to be fair, it has divided opinion. Some lampooining the brand’s association with a global virus while others praising it for helping it to promote public CV-19 testing and safety measures.
Check out some of the social media reaction below:
For its part, Pepsi has realised the error of its way and has since removed the offending banner. A spokesperson for the brand telling The Huffington Post: “An unfortunate mistake by one of our local sales associates that in trying to move with speed to get this important testing message up, did not follow proper approval protocols.”
A spokesperson for Walmart added: “We know how important access to testing is in our local communities, and there was nothing negative intended by the banner. The local teams were trying to raise awareness about the testing site in order to help more people in the community. As soon as we learned about them, it was taken down.”
That said, Pepsi isn’t the first brand to sponsor a global pandemic, as this recent effort from Subway shows.