- Pepsi faced mockery on Twitter after putting a large ad for soda on a COVID-19 testing site sign.
- A PepsiCo representative told Business Insider the sign has been removed, calling it an “unfortunate mistake.”
- The snack and soda giant was forced to revamp its advertising strategy due to the coronavirus pandemic, pulling campaigns such as #Summergram that showed people going outside.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Pepsi faced mockery online after putting a soda advertisement on the banner for a COVID-19 testing site.
“What absolute dystopian hell world are we living in,” Twitter user Firr tweeted on Wednesday, along with a picture of the sign, which reads “COVID-19 TESTING SITE, NEAR WALMART #908.”
The sign also feature’s PepsiCo’s tagline: “That’s what I like.”
What absolute dystopian hell world are we living in. pic.twitter.com/Srnot6ZUji
— Firr (@Firr) May 20, 2020
The tweet quickly went viral, as others were quick to mock Pepsi for its bizarrely placed ad.
Year of the Pepsi-Branded WalMart Pandemic Testing Site https://t.co/bpxhgKy2Fo
— Eric Roston (@eroston) May 20, 2020
???? I’m at the Walmart????
????I’m at the COVID-19 testing site????
????I’m at the combination Walmart and COVID-19 testing site sponsored by the refreshing taste of Pepsi®️???? https://t.co/R06mfBZSnH
— Rob Sheridan (@rob_sheridan) May 21, 2020
Covid-19, brought to you by Pepsi cola.
— Dragoneer.exe (@Dragoneer) May 20, 2020
A PepsiCo representative told Business Insider that the sign has since been taken down.
“This was 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,” PepsiCo said in a statement.
Massive brands, including Pepsi, have been forced to revamp their marketing practices during the coronavirus pandemic.
The company’s North America chief marketing officer, Greg Lyons, told Business Insider’s Tanya Dua in a recent interview that in a recent 5,000 person survey the company found 80% of respondents want brands to revise the tone or style of their advertising during the pandemic. As a result, PepsiCo pulled campaigns such as #Summergram, which showed people going outside.
“It would be tone-deaf right now if you got a bottle of Pepsi that said ‘Suns out, Buns out,'” Lyons said. “[We] gave some people something to feel good about – in an authentic way – because Pepsi is part of a lot of restaurant experiences and we want to help those restaurants and those employees.”
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