The invention of cell phones revolutionized the world, but when smartphones and apps came around, things really got intense. Whether a person wants a flashlight, a way to find cheap gas, a date for the weekend or just a way to avoid getting a traffic ticket, there is almost always (to overuse the adage) an app for that. Unfortunately, not all apps are as great as their creators intended, and in some instances, these failures come from successful companies. Simply knowing that they exist conveys its own sense of tragedy.
AMP UP Before You Score by Pepsi
At one point, PepsiCo released a rather enjoyable energy drink known as AMP. Collegiate men make up a huge consumer base for energy drinks, so it was smart to market directly at this subset. Unfortunately, the company decided to take this to the extreme. Their app provided tips for men to “score” with women. In fact, it listed a variety of female stereotypes, 24 to be exact, and provided methods of seducing these women. Stereotypes ranged from the “bookworm” to the “cougar.” Suffice it to say, the app was quickly pulled after the company received an onslaught of complaints.
Perfect Pop by Pop Secret
While boasting a 3.5 star rating in the app store, Pop Secret’s mobile popcorn making app seems to be a bit on the pointless side. While the company was smart to make an app, since mobile apps are a great method of marketing, they could have put a bit more thought into the process. The app literally listens to the popping of popcorn and alerts a user when it’s done. Because, obviously, it’s a bit too hard to read the instructions on the bag. While it has found moderate success in the app store, but like many popular things, success doesn’t make it any less useless.
3D Steak by Longhorn Steakhouse
The Longhorn app from, obviously, Longhorn Steakhouse can drive a person mad just by knowing that it exists. Smartphone users do enjoy apps that they can interact with, so the company nailed that part. Unfortunately, the only interaction it allows is for the user to flip a 3D steak on a virtual grill. That’s it. No more; no less. The app doesn’t even provide location information for the restaurants and, even worse, zero links back to the Longhorn website. Without giving customers more information, the app is just a marketing flop.
Snapchat Poke by Facebook
No worst apps list would be complete without a nod to Facebook. Despite being on almost every smartphone in the country and millions of users, Facebook’s app has always been underwhelming, bordering on infuriating. But Facebook stepped it up with their Snapchat clone, Poke. And don’t think we didn’t notice. Comments of “xeroxing” and “complete unadulterated plagiarism” came to light almost immediately after launch. Legend has it that Poke still meanders around the app store, looking to feed on young naive users that somehow haven’t heard of Snapchat.
Creating an app can be one of the best things that a company ever does for itself, but when undertaking this feat, it’s essential to really put some time into it. Consumers can tell when an app was created just so a company would have an app on the market, and if these smartphone programs don’t meet an actual need, they’re doomed to failure. While this may take some time, a company could at least optimize their site for mobile devices while figuring out the best potential app. When done correctly, an app will engage users and create a mobile experience like no other.