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Coke Confused Pittsburgh with Philadelphia and All Hell Broke Loose

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Fast food brands often steal the spotlight for a fleeting moment when their social media accounts go rogue. Wendy’s is a great example, as its Twitter account is known for taking no prisoners and savaging its competitors with brutal remarks. Chipotle also lets some weird missives fly on rare occasions.

But perhaps nothing is worse than a mega-brand making a major mistake in a marketing promotion, as Coca-Cola proved this week: In a completely avoidable Twitter gaffe, the soda-maker tweeted a message to the fair denizens of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, encouraging the city to cool down with a Coke amid record high temperatures. Everything would have been fine, but the tweet contained a map of a different Pennsylvanian city -- Philadelphia -- which did not sit well with Pittsburghers, who live 300 miles west in an entirely different place.

Naturally, the inclination among Pittsburgh people was to boycott Coke by switching to Pepsi.

Because both towns are awash with tough guys who like sports, the error caused a debate over which city is a real home of champions.

Pittsburghers are obviously feeling empowered, given their hockey team's triumph in the Stanley Cup Finals this year. They took the opportunity to chide Philly sports fans, whose hockey team is decidedly less than good:

The repartee got so out of hand that Pittsburgh’s mayor weighed in. Bill Peduto took the opportunity to echo -- and obviously mock -- President Trump’s statement on the United States' withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, in which Trump declared he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Philly's political brass also responded, tying the faux pax into the soda industry's attempts to circumvent the city's tax on soft drinks. 

Predictably, a Coke spokesperson apologized for the snafu on Monday, saying that the brand is “exploring innovative, adaptive technologies to serve up personalized content to our fans … in this case, our map accidentally missed the mark — literally.”

It isn’t hard to imagine Pepsi serving up an ice-cold rebuttal to all of this.


[h/t Philly Inquirer]

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Esquire. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.