NEW YORK PepsiCo's Amp Energy drink is looking to connect with young men by providing what might be the ultimate utility for the target audience: ways to score with women.
The "Amp Up Before You Score" iPhone application gives dudes various pickup lines and background info through digital flip cards for 24 different types of women, ranging from "rebound girl" to "treehugger" to the now ubiquitous "cougar." The app even suggests strategies for seducing married women. It includes a "brag list" for users to keep "a name, date and whatever details you remember" and encourages guys to "flaunt it" by broadcasting their scores via Twitter and Facebook updates.
The app, built by Interpublic Group digital agency R/GA and available for free, is risqué enough that it's only available to users 17 and older. The app description page on iTunes warns of (promises?) profanity, crude humor and suggestive themes. Amp Energy targets men 18-24.
The 17-and-over rating is high by iPhone standards, at least for brand apps.
The Puma Index, an app that shows models stripping to their underwear when the stock market is down, only warrants a 9+ rating. Apple screens all applications on its platform, though some of its decisions have raised eyebrows. TechCrunch yesterday noted an app that allows users to blow into the microphone to lift the skirts of Japanese women to see their underwear. That app also got a 17+ rating.
Apple placed the mature rating on the app, according to Jay Zasa, ecd at R/GA, despite the fact it has only a "slight edge."
"The process is mysterious from our angle," he said. "If you look at it as a movie that would get a NC-17 rating, it's nowhere near that. Apple takes a pretty conservative line."
Amp is not the first brand to marry mobile marketing with helping boys attract girls. Lynx in early 2008 introduced "Weapons of Mass Seduction" mobile apps for picking up women.
The Amp app suggests nearby motels, displayed on a Google Map, for rendezvous with married women. For "indie girls," the app pulls in content from Under the Radar magazine and plots out nearby thrift stores.
The Amp app uses several sources to give tongue-tied would-be Lotharios something to say when they spot gals. For instance, if the girl appears to be a punk rocker, the app pulls in feeds on the punk movement from Wikipedia and gives a listing of suitable clubs nearby. It also taps into Twitter and Google Maps.
The effort is an attempt to meld real utility with entertainment, according to Zasa. While some might literally use it as a pickup tool, most will probably find more success sharing it with members of the opposite sex as a conversation item, Zasa said.
"Most of the time it's just a funny thing to look at and share with friends," he said.
Amp is still working on the distribution strategy for the app, Zasa said.
Many apps languish in the Apple App Store. Distribution strategies typically include links on brand Web pages and ad campaigns with mobile networks. R/GA hopes the application will have viral appeal thanks to the built-in hooks with social networking platforms Facebook and Twitter. When messages are pushed at those venues by users, they come with a link back to the app.
The app is one of a handful R/GA has created for clients like Nike Training Club. The agency created a video showing off the app in the style of an Apple TV commercial.