Is Being nonPC The New PR Method? Ask Pepsi and Yahoo

Ok so Pepsi is getting grief about its iPhone app for helping men pick up women and Yahoo is apologizing for the lap dances given at their oPEN Hack Day in Taiwan, but do the two reflect a new non 'Politically Correct' approach to pr and branding?

When Pepsi launched its app there was an outcry from women online, particularly on Twitter, even going so far as a call to boycott their products. But funny I did a search on Twitter today and nothing but people singing the praises of Pepsi - and most are women I might add.

Seems the old adage "yesterday's news wraps today's fish" is in evidence here. Pepsi got a lot of press and its seems now, just days later, it may just have helped with some more branding.

Yahoo, on the other hand, made an apology for the fully clothed lap dances given at their Open Hack Day in Taiwan last weekend, and are now getting press on the apology.

While there are a number of women in the programmers space, it seems like this could be another instance of brand attention by the people Yahoo most wants to be playing with their APIs. Most of the male programmers reading this story will have a sly smile on their faces and making notes to see where Yahoo is holding its next event.

Has the need to be ultraPC changed of late? In an ever increasing battle for media spend during this time of economic limitations, have companies decided to go for the free branding and publicity shock ads seem to garner?

Playboy is doing a centerfold of Marge Simpson and an Australian beer just did a rather sexually implicit ad using Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We all know sex sells, but have the usual restrained methods given way to more explicit ones?

Landing pages with females smiling support for products have long shown better conversion than male counterparts, as have the engagement with online support where a woman's image is used.

It must make for hard decisions in corporate marketing offices around the globe. Funnily enough I did see a tweet calling for a female version of the Pepsi pick up app - now that would only be fair.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.