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 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 achieved impressive results in comparison to other diet drinks in its category during product tests due to its strong citrus flavor, which effectively masked the unpleasant taste of artificial sweeteners. As a result, PepsiCo decided to allocate additional funds for advertising in order to support the expansion of Diet Mountain Dew’s distribution. This project was assigned to Bill Bruce, a junior copywriter who was simultaneously working on different brands. Bruce developed the tag line “Do Diet Dew” (later evolved into “Do the Dew” to encompass the entire brand) and created several new ideas to enhance BBDO’s existing Get Vertical campaign.

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The inaugural ad of the new campaign, Done That, shows a thrilling scene of a man leaping off a cliff to descend rapidly towards the river at the bottom of a narrow canyon. This intense moment is accompanied by pulsating grunge music. The ad also introduces the “Dew Dudes,” a group of four young men who observe and discuss the daring feats depicted in the commercial. Done That quickly became immensely popular, captivating the nation’s collective imagination. In addition, the ad received countless parodies and popularized the phrase “been there, done that” in everyday language.

BBDO produced three similar versions of Done That for 1994 and 1995. One of these versions was called Mt. Everest. However, after two years of these advertisements, consumer interest in the creative was diminishing rapidly. Jeff Mordos explains that if the creative team did not come up with a new idea that year, both consumer disinterest and the possibility of a rebellion by PepsiCo bottlers would have likely resulted in PepsiCo having to create an entirely new campaign. {draw:frame} In 1995, only one out of the four spots produced utilized a different creative concept.

One of the spots that became a hit during the campaign featured Mel Torme, an aging Vegas lounge singer. In this parody, Mel Torme was seen wearing a tuxedo and standing on top of a Vegas hotel as he sang a modified version of “I Get a Kick out of You” with Mountain Dew references. He impresses the Dew Dudes by performing a base jump. Other similar ads followed this one. In another ad, a teenage James Bond is shown in a high-speed pursuit scene with typical Bond stunts, accompanied by the well-known Bond theme music. The Dew Dudes are unimpressed until Bond discovers a Mountain Dew vending machine.

Andre Agassi, a bold tennis star, engages in extreme stunts as part of his training routine and is coached by the Dew Dudes in an intense tennis match. In 1997, BBDO introduced two innovative commercials. They hired the director of Nirvana’s famous “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video to direct Thank Heaven, a spot that resembles a music video. The advertisement features Ruby, the lead singer of an alternative rock band, performing a punked-up rendition of the timeless song “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” The grunge style of the ad conveys a shift from the traditional perception of “little girls” to a more assertive and feminine brand of aggression.

The campaign featuring Jackie Chan incorporates his famous martial arts skills and comedic stunts, adding a fresh twist to the familiar “seen it already” theme. The advertisement initially presents a thrilling chase scene reminiscent of Chan’s films, filled with intense action. However, when Chan confronts his adversary, the Dew Dudes suddenly appear as wise Confucian men who provide him with cans of Mountain Dew. Although other commercials were less successful, such as “Scream,” a fast-paced compilation of extreme sports footage that answers the question “What is a Mountain Dew?” and the Michael Johnson spot aimed at appealing to the African-American community, PepsiCo managers grew worried that the advertising had become too predictable by 1998. They were particularly concerned about the diminishing impact of using alternative sports due to oversaturation, as numerous brands like Bagel Bites, AT&T, Gillette Extreme Deodorant, and Slim Jims beef jerky snacks had become major sponsors of such sports.

To maintain the campaign’s novelty, the creators sought different approaches to showcase Mountain Dew’s unique qualities. Parking Attendant, created in 1999, was a successful attempt at offering an alternative portrayal. The commercial follows a parking attendant who takes liberties with a BMW given to him by a formal businessman. The young man drives recklessly, as if being pursued by the police, swiftly maneuvering from one building to another. The scene is accompanied by an energetic surf instrumental that had previously been used in Quentin Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction. (Source: Mountain Dew Brand Communications Strategies, 1993-2007)

Source: PepsiCo *TABLE 1. 1 Mountain Dew Market Research PepsiCo monitored the effectiveness of individual ads and the overall impact of advertising on the Mountain Dew brand. The measurement of a single ad’s contribution to brand equity was difficult. Both quantitative and qualitative research provided data for managers to make inferences, but Pepsi managers had not found a reliable research method to determine ad effectiveness.

PepsiCo regularly collected various types of data to gauge the impact of their advertisements. Along with formal research, managers kept track of “talk value” or “buzz” – how much the ad was being discussed in the mass media. The Tonight Show and David Letterman were particularly helpful indicators. Feedback from the Mountain Dew website, unofficial websites, and the brand’s 800 number were also considered important measures. Furthermore, PepsiCo closely monitored the response of their salesforce and bottlers to the ads, as they received direct feedback from customers. All of these data points were used by PepsiCo managers as filters.

However, in the end, the assessment of advertising was left to managerial judgement. Managers made a thoughtful evaluation based on their previous experience with the brand and advertising for various brands. Nonetheless, PepsiCo managers did use market research to gauge the overall effect of advertising on the brand. Given that several other factors, particularly pricing and retail display activity, had an immediate and short-term influence on sales, it was frequently challenging to establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between advertising and sales. Nevertheless, advertising campaigns do have a direct impact on the perception of the brand.

And these perceptions, in turn, have a direct impact on sales. Therefore, PepsiCo has gathered a collection of indicators known as key performance indicators (KPIs), which are measures influenced by advertising and have been proven to greatly affect sales. Managers monitor these KPIs, also known as brand health measures, for both teenagers and individuals aged 20-39. However, brand health among teenagers is of particular concern to managers because during this stage, soft drink consumers often transition from trying a variety of beverages to becoming dedicated lifelong consumers of a specific soda.

The most recent study, conducted in spring 1999, revealed the teen key performance indicators (KPIs) of Mountain Dew. Compared to last year, Mountain Dew’s “Dew Tastes Better” score improved by 6 points, reaching 48%. However, unaided brand awareness decreased by 5 points to 39%. The score for “For someone like me” increased by 5 points to 53%, and “Dew Drinkers are Cool” also increased by 5 points to 64%. Featuring the Mountain Dew Brand Development Index Map, the chart below illustrates the level of brand development (BDI) and category development (CDI) in various markets. Source: PepsiCo *BDI = Brand Development Index. Brand managers analyze markets based on both CDI and BDI.

This Exhibit presents the BDI (Brand Development Index) of Mountain Dew in various market areas across the United States. The BDI represents the per capita consumption of Mountain Dew, with the average market calibrated to 100 and other markets indexed against this average. *TABLE 2.1 Exhibit 5a shows the data obtained from Spectra Lifestyle Analysis, sourced from AC Nielsen Product Library between November 2006 and November 2007. Additionally, *TABLE 2.2 highlights the company’s focus on developing new creative ideas that symbolize Mountain Dew as an exhilarating experience. This strategy was devised by Moffitt’s team at Pepsi Cola North America, along with the account team at BBDO New York led by Cathy Israelevitz. The Mountain Dew FY 2000 Brand Communications Strategy can be found in the source from PepsiCo. Lastly, *TABLE 3.1 provides a concluding remark stating that Mountain Dew, being a renowned brand, has maintained its position successfully by understanding customer psychology, maintaining product quality, introducing innovation in products, expanding its product range, considering economic factors, and employing intense and vibrant advertising campaigns.

Whenever and wherever there is a spotlight event, like the one day international cricket matches between India and Pakistan, Mountain Dew must be included. The company should offer sales promotional discounts to convince wholesalers and retailers to display Mountain Dew products in their stores. Additionally, the company should try to expand their market segments and strengthen their distribution channels. They should focus on product retention through continuous promotions and advertisements, and inform consumers about the emotional and personality benefits of Mountain Dew.

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