PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) – Coca-Cola’s marketing efforts during the weekend’s heatwave in Pittsburgh backfired when the company mistakenly used a map of Philadelphia in a post on Twitter.
Sunday’s tweet said, “Today’s forecast in Pittsburgh: Record heat, followed by an ice-cold wave of ahhhhhhh. #ShareaCoke.”
Although temperatures climbed into the high 80s, the tweet was received coolly because the message was accompanied by the wrong map.
People in Market Square reacted to the mistake: “I think they need a geography lesson!”
Another woman said: “Oh my goodness! They disrespected us a little bit.”
Even Mayor Bill Peduto weighed in, responding, “I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Philadelphia” – riffing on his recent kerfuffle over President Donald Trump’s pullout of the Paris climate accord.
“It generated a buzz undoubtedly,” said Scott Morgan, President at Brunner, a Pittsburgh advertising agency. He says companies try to avoid blunders like this one.
“It’s probably some community manager in Atlanta that’s never been to Pennsylvania and doesn’t know Philadelphia from Pittsburgh.”
Morgan actually sees Coke’s mistake as an opportunity for its rival Pepsi in our area.
“It’s opened the door very wide for Pepsi, which is their chief competitor, to say: ‘Hey Coca Cola, you don’t know your geography. You don’t know your constituents,'” said Morgan.
Coca-Cola has issued a statement:
“We sincerely apologize to our loyal fans in Pittsburgh for using a Philly map in our recent tweet. To our fans in both cities, we promise this error has been corrected. This summer we are exploring innovative, adaptive technologies to serve up personalized content to our fans when the weather heats up, and remind them there’s nothing better than sharing an ice-cold Coke. In this case, our map accidentally missed the mark – literally.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)