Mountain Dew Case Study

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What is the ad campaign of Mountain Dew that created awareness to its consumers? What is the impact of the Mountain Dew Ad campaign to its prospective customers? How did Pepsi Cola Company respond to the growing threat of non-carbonated soft drinks, especially energy drinks and tea? ANSWERS:

In 1992, senior management at PepsiCo sensed an opportunity to increase business on Diet Mountain Dew. Diet Mountain {draw:frame} Dew's distribution was limited mostly to the rural regions where the brand was strongest, even though regular Dew was now a national brand. Diet Mountain Dew performed very well on product tests versus other diet drinks in the category because the heavy citrus flavor did a better job of masking the undesirable taste of the artificial sweetener. So PepsiCo allocated money for incremental advertising to support an effort to expand Diet Mountain Dew distribution. Bill Bruce, then a junior copywriter working on several brands, was assigned to the project. Bruce came up with the "Do Diet Dew" tag line (which soon evolved into "Do the Dew" to support the entire brand) and several new ideas to embellish what BBDO had begun with the Get Vertical campaign. The first breakthrough ad of the new campaign, Done That, features a hair-raising shot of a guy jumping off the edge of a cliff to take a free-fall toward the narrow canyon's river bottom, set to throbbing grunge music. This was the first ad to feature the "Dew Dudes"—four young guys who are witnessing the daredevil stunts presented in the ad and commenting on them. Done That became {draw:frame} a huge hit, capturing the country's imagination. The ad was widely parodied and the phrase "been there, done that" entered the vernacular. For 1994 and 1995, BBDO produced three carbon-copy "pool-outs"1 of Done That, including a spot called Mt. Everest. By 1995, after two years of these ads, consumer interest in the creative was fading fast. According to Jeff Mordos, if the creative hadn't moved to another idea that year, consumer's flagging interest and the potential of a revolt by PepsiCo bottlers likely would have forced PepsiCo to develop an entirely new campaign. {draw:frame} For 1995, three of four spots produced relied upon different creative ideas. One of these spots, Mel Torme, became the second hit of the campaign. The spot was a parody featuring the aging Vegas lounge singer Mel Torme, tuxedo-clad atop a Vegas hotel crooning "I Get a Kick out of You," with lyrics altered to incorporate Mountain Dew references. He impresses the Dew Dudes with a base jump of his own. Similar ads followed. In 007, a teenage James Bond engages in a frenetic pursuit scene with typical Bond stunts, accompanied by the familiar Bond theme music. The Dew Dudes are not impressed until Bond comes upon a Mountain Dew vending machine. In Training, brash tennis star Andre Agassi performs extreme stunts as training exercises, and then plays an extreme game of tennis with the Dew Dudes as his coaches.

In 1997, BBDO came up with two breakthrough spots. The director of Nirvana's classic music video "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was hired to direct Thank Heaven, which mimics a music video. The spot stars the lead singer of an alternative rock band called Ruby. She sings a punked-up version of the classic song "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," in which the grunge style suggests the "little girls" of old have been replaced by the feminine brand of aggressiveness presented in the ad. Jackie Chan deploys the Hong Kong movie star's patented martial arts with humorous stunts into the campaign's jaded, "seen it already" motif. The ad begins in the midst of what seems like a classic chase scene from a Chan film with lots of harrowing action. When Chan faces down his enemy, the Dew Dudes magically appear as Confucian wisemen who assist Chan with cans of Mountain Dew.

Other ads produced were significantly less effective. Scream, a high-speed...
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