Marketing gone wrong: Angkas hit for ‘like sex’ promo tweet

Bonz Magsambol

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(UPDATED) 'We take full responsibility for the misstep,' says Angkas as it apologizes to the public for the tweet

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Angkas, the ride hailing motorcycle service, is going viral for all the wrong reasons.

On Tuesday, July 30, it tweeted a promotion, saying, “Angkas is like sex. It’s scary the first time pero masarap na ulit-ulitin (It’s scary the first time but it feels good when you do it over and over again).”

It continued with a sexually-loaded promo code: “New user? Use promo code ANGKASARIWA on your first 2 rides,” sariwa translating to “fresh.” 

PNP hotline, a unit of the Philippine National Police, called out Angkas on this, tweeting: “This is not acceptable to commuters. Matatakot ang tao sa Angkas pag ganito (People will be afraid of Angkas if this is how it does its business). This is not promoting public safety in transport business anymore.” 

Did Angkas cross the line in its marketing strategy? Netizens thought so too. 

‘Disgusting marketing strategy’

Some social media users said the tweet was “disgusting” and “distasteful.”

Twitter user @SyLicoNgaAko expressed his frustration by saying Angkas should at least “uphold some degree of integrity” since it is a business entity. 

“To promote your services using an obscene analogy is a little bit overboard,” he continued. 

Just last week, netizens hit Grab Philippines for its tweet riding on the rumored breakup between celebrities Gerald Anderson and Bea Alonzo, implying that it was okay to cheat. (READ: Grab slammed for ‘normalizing’ cheating)

The incident came weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law that penalizes wolf-whistling, catcalling, misogynistic and homophobic slurs, unwanted sexual advances, and other forms of sexual harassment in public places, workplaces, and schools as well as in online spaces. (READ: New law punishes wolf whistling, catcalling, online sexual harassment)

Here’s what the rest of the netizens had to say about Angkas “distasteful” tweet:

Angkas apologizes

Following the backlash, Angkas issued an apology on Twitter.

“Safety has always been our brand’s priority, and we apologize for how our recent tweet has made users feel unsafe and cast doubt on the integrity of our service,” it said in its statement.

“Words and analogies are meant to help us connect with our audience, but in this case, we’ve missed that mark. We take full responsibility for the misstep,” it added.

The company also apologized to its bikers acknowleding that “this incident has, through no fault of their own, cast them in an unfair light.”

“Our biker-partners have been trained to respect their riders and make them as comfortable as possible. And no tweet can change that fact. They are qualified professionals who are just working hard to make a decent living for themselves and their families,” the company added.  –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.