Market strategies behind Mountain Dew

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Introduction

The key strategy was to associate Mountain Dew with the exhilarating intensity of life’s most exciting, fun adventures. The objective was to expand appeal of Mountain Dew to new users while reinforcing it among current users. PepsiCo wanted to position Mountain Dew as the great tasting carbonated soft drink that exhilarates like no other because it is energizing, thirst-quenching, and has a one-of-a-kind citrus flavor. The executional direction of ad campaign was:

Evolve the “Do the Dew” campaign against the core target with fresh and relevant copy

Explore other metaphors beyond alternative sports to express “exhilarating intensity”

Develop ethnically-targeted “cross-appeal” spot

Develop pool of “Do the Dew” executions

Enhance product perception

Communicate quenching

One execution should have AA/urban relevance

Inclusion of water-greenery element not mandatory

The target market for Mountain Dew is primarily 18 year old males, who embrace excitement, adventure and fun. The vision is to ensure appeal among current 20-39 year olds and drive universal appeal among white, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnic segments.

2. Mountain Dew is a carbonated soft drink offered from PepsiCo which is widely considered as one of the most sophisticated and aggressive marketing companies in the world. Mountain Dew marketing included brand strategy, consumer and sales promotions, packaging, line extensions, product changes, and sponsorships. The executives of BBDO New York; Bill Bruce, Doris Cassar, Jeff Mordos, Cathy Israelevitz, and Ted Sann; and the executives of PepsiCo; Scott Moffitt, Dawn Hudson, and Gary Rodkin; were involved in the decisions of the new campaign and selection of the creatives. PepsiCo management should keep in mind that selecting the right creative was one of the most critical decision they could make in terms of impact on the company’s sales and profits.

The company spent substantially less as a percentage of sales on category advertising than its competitors. Instead, PepsiCo relied on exceptionally creativity to make advertising work harder for less cost. The company viewed the creative development process as a key organizational competency, a strategic weapon that was central to their financial success. Mountain Dew was a very important product for PepsiCo as Dew became the third largest carbonated soft drink at retail, overtaking Diet Coke. All of the leading carbonated drinks began to show real weakness as alternative noncarbonated drinks began to attract a great deal of teens and young adults. It was extremely important to respond to the growing threat of noncarbonated like Gatorade and the new highly caffeinated and sugary energy drinks like Red Bull. The evaluation of new creative was the most challenging aspect of brand management as there was no market research or marketplace data to guide the decision. The senior managers should have adequate knowledge to build company’s brands through effective advertising campaign.

3. Mountain Dew had a “Hello Sunshine” campaign sought to tie Mountain Dew’s distinctive product characteristics to a set of backcountry recreational images. The yellow-green product and strong citrus flavor were represented over and over by the gleaming sun sparkling in beautiful natural settings. The product name was represented in virtually every advertisement by mountains, dew drops reflecting in the sun, and condensed drops on cans to represent dew. The energizing effects of the caffeine and sugar were toned down. This campaign portrayed Mountain Dew as an organic and natural drink extracted from environmental resources but on the contrary the beverage has heart-pumping caffeine and more sugar compared to other soft drinks. So the inclusion of water-greenery element and portrayal of Dew as a beverage extracted from environmental resources was not required in the new campaign.

4. Advertising and marketing are bound to embed brands deeper and deeper into the culture. This was the reason PepsiCo managers paid close attention to cultural trends. They were particularly focused on track music and sports trends since these activities were so central to youth culture. Below are the cultural trends which were part of Dew’s advertising campaign:

Music: Three musical trends dominated the airwaves in the 1990s. Rap music exploded to become the most popular genre in the country. The rap remained very popular among male teens, especially in urban area. An alternative rock music scene also exploded at roughly the same time and was hugely popular on college campuses. Later on the 1990s, techno music began making significant inroads into American youth culture.

Sports: The “alternative sports” took off in the early 1990s. Teen enthusiasts transformed casual hobby activities – mountain biking, skateboarding, paragliding, BMX biking, and inline skating – into highly technical, creative, and often dangerous sports. Mountain Dew was one of the founding lead sponsors of the Extreme Games, a nontraditional Olympics of sorts.

GenX Ethos: The teen and young adults exhibited a growing cynicism towards the dominant work-oriented values of the previous generation and towards corporations more generally. They found that working hard to get ahead in terms of salary and occupational prestige was harder to swallow in an era of corporate reengineering. These youth adopted a campy interest in non-trendy products, television programs, and music of previous era.

5. An advertising campaign has a lifecycle and over the period of time the advertising becomes too predictable. The alternative sports featured regularly in Mountain Dew advertising campaign was becoming less important due to saturation. The senior management needed to keep the campaign working hard to maintain the brand’s relevance with its target consumers. They needed to find alternatives ways to express Dew’s distinctive feature to keep the campaign fresh. All the PepsiCo’s key competitors were raising their advertisement budgets. Many other brands were also sponsoring the same alternative sports that Mountain Dew had relied upon to boost its image. And teens were gravitating to new activities and new music that Dew’s competitors had successfully exploited in their branding activities. The competition from key competitors was heating up in both carbonated soft drink and noncarbonated drinks, sending Dew sales below target. Choosing the right ads to maximize the impact of Mountain Dew was a vital decision for the PepsiCo.

6. PepsiCo management should keep in mind that selecting the right creative was one of the most critical decision they could make in terms of impact on sales and profits. The company spent substantially less as a percentage of sales on category advertising than its competitors. Instead, PepsiCo relied on exceptionally creativity to make advertising work harder for less cost. The company viewed the creative development process as a key organizational competency, a strategic weapon that was central to their financial success. The evaluation of new creative was the most challenging aspect of brand management as there was no market research or marketplace data to guide the decision. The managers should have adequate knowledge of how advertising worked to build brands through years of seasoning and tutorials on several of the company’s brands.

7. Mountain Dew’s national media plan should focus on a younger audience. The ads should be produced for Dew’s media buys which could associate Mountain Dew with the exhilarating intensity of life’s most exciting, fun adventures. Typical buys would include MTV, The Simpsons, and ESPN during alternative sports broadcasts. The advertisements like Cheetah, Mock Opera and Dew or Die could be aired on ESPN while Mock Opera and Showstopper ads could be broadcasted on MTV. The Labor of Love and Mock Opera could be aired on The Simpsons.

Mountain Dew was becoming less of a niche brand with its long run of increased sales. Therefore PepsiCo had decided to feature Mountain Dew rather than Pepsi during the Super Bowl to recognize the product’s expanding customer base and celebrate Dew’s arrival as the third most popular carbonated soft drink. For decades, the Super Bowl had been a hugely influential event for advertisers. The game drew the biggest audience of the year and the ads received an amazing amount of attention. A Super Bowl ad had a huge ripple effect in free public relations. In addition, Super Bowl ads provided a powerful sales tool to motivate retailers and distributors. As a result, Super Bowl had become a distinctive genre within advertising. The demographically diverse audience demanded advertising with hooks that were easily understood. I would select Mock Opera ad to broadcast just before Super Bowl half-time show because of its fun element. The Super Bowl half-time show is usually entertaining with songs and performances. On the contrary, I would air Cheetah advertisement in the final minutes of the game because of the possibility of a thrilling game finish and the most viewers watching the game. The Cheetah ad would be perfect for this spot because of its fast and adventurous theme.

8. I like Mock Opera advertisement the most. I think it is a perfect blend of fun, humor and adventure which goes hand in hand with the image of Mountain Dew. I find this advertisement humorous and adventurous at the same time. I also liked the Cheetah ad. I like the adventurous spirit of the commercial which shows that the Dew drinker as courageous and adventurous individual.

I don’t like Dew or Die commercial. The slogan seems too extreme with word “die” in it. The commercial shows Dew drinker pulling off an extreme stunt and accidentally save the world. It gives an impression that Dew drinker does not have any clue what he is doing? It also portrays as if Dew drinker is living a dangerous rather than adventurous life.

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