Mountain Dew’s Dewmocracy In Action
The polls will close at the end of June and a new soft drink will join the Mountain Dew family. In November, PepsiCo, which owns Mountain Dew, teamed up with WhittmanHart and launched an exceedingly interactive ad campaign to revitalize the brand. The campaign consists of several phases where players of an online game design their own Mountain Dew drink. The user-generated beverages were then narrowed down to three flavors (Supernova, Voltage, Revolution) and are currently being sold for a limited time. The packaging instructs customers to visit Dewmocracy.com and vote for their favorite flavor. It goes without saying that Mountain Dew is playing off of the excitement of the national elections and even displays results from each state.
“Dewmocracy” is the first large-scale web marketing campaign by Mountain Dew that targets teens and Millennials, who have grown up with the Internet. In 2007, the brand ended its highly-successful “Do the Dew” and “extreme sports” approach to end being labeled as an energy drink like Red Bull. Ending its long-time partnership with BBDO and opting to collaborate with WhittmanHart has so far demonstrated impressive results. The agency has incorporated many opportunities for consumers to be entertained and collaborate into the media it created. The “Dewmocracy” website in particular contains experiential features where visitors can post messages and create there own 20-second campaign commercials to share on their social-networking profiles.
In addition to the website and multi-player game, WhittmanHart created a 4-minute short filmto provide “Dewmocracy” with a back-story. The power to design a drink is framed as an act of defiance against evil corporations seeking to eliminate people’s freedom to make their own choices. This sort of rhetoric that addresses cynicism toward corporations is similar to how Mountain Dew appealed to “Gen Xers” in the 90s and will likely make the campaign a success. Although members of “Dewmocracy” may not view themselves as full-fledged counterculturalists, they look for outlets of self-expression and the site provides exactly that. In March, WhittmanHart reported “Dewmocracy” drew 70,000 visitors that spent an average of 26-28 minutes on the site.
To promote the three flavors, PepsiCo has been giving customers free bottles and 12-pack cans at several supermarket chains. I’m sure the soft-drink giant is hoping to get people hooked on a particular flavor and so they will visit Dewmocracy.com and become brand ambassadors campaign supporters. Overall, the interactivity of Mountain Dew’s new marketing strategy is top-notch and engaging. Voting-centered ad campaigns seem to be popular and enjoyed by consumers. In 2003 and 1995, M&Ms drew a lot of attention and participation when the company asked customers to select a new color for its candy.