A controversial sign was spotted at a Walmart in Orlando, Florida advertising a testing site for the virus responsible for the national health crisis.
But what caused quite the stir was the fact that the poster also promoted Pepsi.
People did not appreciate Pepsi for presumably capitalizing on the pandemic by using the tagline:
"That's what I like."
What absolute dystopian hell world are we living in. https://t.co/Srnot6ZUji— Firr (@Firr) 1590001299.0
Pop Culture mentioned that a small demographic was not convinced the poster—which has now been taken down—was completely authentic.
Some speculated the poster was doctored, with Walmart re-purposing ads as a cost-cutting measure. However people with retail experience know stores often request custom signs from their local distributors.
Beer, soda and chip brands will have custom signs or banners printed for stores with whatever message they want on their product's promotional sign stock. But maybe someone should have thought twice about this advertising team up.
The confusing advertisement got a chilly reception.
@TheCartoonLoon That's as American, as you can get! Ain't corporatism grand?— BlackSageD (@BlackSageD) 1590009616.0
@Firr When you think of people dying of COVID, think Pepsi! I especially like them adding "That's what I like" to the bottom of the sign.— Silence (@Silence) 1590001442.0
What's with the number next to "Near Walmart"?
FYI—it's the store number.
@Firr Welcome. Welcome to Walmart 908 https://t.co/ygXEHQqfkI— Blake © ™ ® (@Blake © ™ ®) 1590009915.0
@Firr Walmart #908 sounds threatening like why the hell does numbering a Walmart make it so ominous— holly cant stop scooby doing the #ScoobDance (@holly cant stop scooby doing the #ScoobDance) 1590005199.0
@TheCartoonLoon Which part is more dystopian. That Pepsi is sponsoring the add to say the testing location. Or that… https://t.co/dcZQCvs2AZ— Cpt. Kamp (@Cpt. Kamp) 1590010224.0
@inkedburger @Firr IDK, let's ask walmart #666 https://t.co/3hBpzV6kqY— David Walker (@David Walker) 1590007654.0
@Firr Everything about this is just so bad. The implied Pepsi sponsorship, the suggestion we're supposed to memorize Walmart store codes...— Simon Fox (@Simon Fox) 1590002644.0
@NeilNevins @Firr “You have chosen, or been chosen, to be tested for Covid-19”— Tyler Healey (@Tyler Healey) 1590014923.0
The huge image of the beverage put consumers in a certain headspace.
So what they chose to see in the accompanying text was understandably misleading.
@Firr I thought it said: "Tasting Site"— ค(𝗢ᆺ𝗢ค 𝓚𝓪𝔃𝓾𝓷𝔂𝓪 | 𝚅𝚎𝚛𝚒𝚏𝚒𝚎𝚍 🅨 (@ค(𝗢ᆺ𝗢ค 𝓚𝓪𝔃𝓾𝓷𝔂𝓪 | 𝚅𝚎𝚛𝚒𝚏𝚒𝚎𝚍 🅨) 1590003026.0
@thelindsayellis I misread this as "covid-19 tasting site" and now I'm stupid forever— ☭Yung Trotsky☭ (@☭Yung Trotsky☭) 1590012291.0
@SuperiorEditMan @Kazuyalegrey @Firr I guess that is worse than a tasing site— orthogonal dr octogon (@orthogonal dr octogon) 1590037909.0
If this was a new flavor to reflect the times, it sure tasted flat.
@thelindsayellis Tfw you're trying to taste some COVID-19 Pepsi, but show up to Walmart #980 by mistake https://t.co/bTxWuUEUyh— ☭Yung Trotsky☭ (@☭Yung Trotsky☭) 1590008928.0
“COVID-19, codename for a new Pepsi soft drink, is being tested at select Walmart stores” https://t.co/YlHp1inJH3— Felipe Cepriano (@Felipe Cepriano) 1590010533.0
A Walmart spokeswoman confirmed there was no collaboration with Pepsi and told Huffington Post that the removed poster:
"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."
The statement added:
"We know how important access to testing is in our local communities, and there was nothing negative intended by the banner."
"The local teams were trying to raise awareness about the testing site in order to help more people in the community. As soon as we learned about them, it was taken down."
It was short-lived, but for a hot second, we were all able to imagine shopping at Walmart #908 where we could "Save money. Live better. Drink Pepsi. Get tested. Because that's what we like."
But alas, the one-stop shop for all our pandemic woes lost its fizz.