Coronavirus isn’t exactly the ideal brand association.
Being associated with a potentially fatal disease is not what most advertisers want for their products.
However, others adhere to the old adage that all exposure is good exposure.
Like Pepsi, who have drawn ire for using a poster directing people to a coronavirus testing site to promote their soda.
Reportedly located in Orlando, Florida, the poster directs people seeking a test to a local Walmart.
It also features a giant picture of an ice-cold Pepsi, accompanied by the tagline “That’s what I like”.
The poster did not have the intended effect; instead it left consumers with rather a sour taste.
There were jokes about the implied sponsorship.
Several people compared it to Mike Judge’s 2006 sci-fi comedy Idiocracy.
Some defended Pepsi, arguing that at least the sign existed.
But it was quickly pointed out that in other countries, corporation tax paid by the likes of Pepsi means that the government can fund non-branded public health signage.
Pepsi’s quality of flavour was even questioned.
Although some pointed out that could make it pair well with a particular Covid-19 symptom.
All in all, it was basically a disastrous branding exercise.
Pepsi weren't the only offenders though; Subway were also called out in the thread for giving away free PPE... if people bought sandwiches.
As for Pepsi, they told The Huffington Post the sign has been taken down, saying it 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.
Perhaps a billboard would be more effective next time.