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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 amalgam of extreme sports shots that are organized to answer the lead-in question—”What is a Mountain Dew? —did not fare well. And Michael Johnson, a spot developed to broaden Dew’s appeal in the African-American community, did not meet the company’s expectations. By 1998, PepsiCo managers worried that the advertising was becoming too predictable. In particular, they were {draw:frame} concerned that the use of alternative sports was becoming less impactful due to oversaturation. Many other brands, including companies like Bagel Bites, AT&T, Gillette Extreme Deodorant, and Slim Jims beef jerky snacks, were now major sponsors of alternative sports.

    To keep the campaign fresh, they needed to find alternative ways to express Mountain Dew’s distinctive features. Parking Attendant, produced in 1999, was a solid effort at advancing toward an alternative expression. The spot features a parking attendant who takes liberties when parking a BMW handed off by a stuffy businessman. The kid drives as if in a police chase, flying from one building to another, accompanied by a frenetic surf instrumental that had been featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction a few years prior. Mountain Dew Brand Communications Strategies (1993-2007)

    Source: PepsiCo *TABLE 1. 1 Mountain Dew Market Research PepsiCo monitored both the effectiveness of individual ads, as well as the cumulative impact of advertising on the overall health of the Mountain Dew brand. The contribution made by a single ad toward building brand equity was notoriously challenging to measure. Both quantitative and qualitative research provided data from which managers make useful inferences. But Pepsi managers had yet to find a research method that was accurate enough to rely upon to provide definitive judgments on ad effectiveness.

    PepsiCo routinely gathered a wide variety of data that hinted at an ad’s impact. In addition to formal research, managers monitored “talk value” or “buzz”—the extent to which the ad has been picked up by the mass media. In particular, The Tonight Show and David Letterman were useful barometers. Feedback from the Mountain Dew website, unofficial websites, and the brand’s 800 number were important gauges as well. In addition, PepsiCo carefully monitored how the salesforce and bottlers responded to the ads, since they were getting direct feedback from their customers. PepsiCo managers used all these data as filters.

    But, ultimately, the evaluation of advertising rested on managerial judgement. Based on their past experience with the brand and with advertising across many brands, managers made a reasoned evaluation. However, PepsiCo managers did rely on market research to assess the cumulative impact of advertising on the brand. Because many other factors—especially pricing and retail display activity—had an immediate short-term impact on sales, it was often difficult to draw causal relationships between advertising and sales. But advertising campaigns do directly impact how the brand is perceived.

    And these perceptions, in turn, drive sales. So PepsiCo had assembled a set of what they termed key performance indicators (KPIs), intermediate measures that were directly impacted by advertising and that had been proven to significantly impact sales. Managers tracked KPIs, also referred to as brand health measures, both for teens and for 20-39 year olds. But managers were particularly concerned with brand health amongst teens because at this age soft drink consumers often moved from experimenting with a variety of drinks to becoming loyal lifetime drinkers of a single soda.

    The latest study, conducted in the spring of 1999, reported Mountain Dew’s teen KPIs. Dew improved 6 points on “Dew Tastes Better” (to 48% versus a year ago). Unaided brand awareness had dropped 5 points (to 39%). “For someone like me” had increased 5 points (to 53%). And “Dew Drinkers are Cool” increased 5 points (to 64%). Mountain Dew Brand Development Index Map {draw:frame} Source: PepsiCo *BDI = Brand Development Index. Brand managers look at markets both in terms of the level of category development (CDI) and the level of brand development (BDI).

    In this Exhibit, Mountain Dew’s BDI refers to the amount of Mountain Dew consumed per capita in different market areas across the United States. The average market is calibrated to 100 and other markets are indexed against this average. *TABLE 2. 1 Exhibit 5a Spectra Lifestyle Analysis Source: Adapted fromAC Nielsen Product Library 11/06 to 11/07 *TABLE 2. 2 The company focus on the development of new creative: “Symbolize that drinking mountain Dew is an exhilarating experience. This strategy was developed by Moffitt’s team at Pepsi Cola North America, in conjunction with the account team at BBDO New York led by Cathy Israelevitz. Mountain Dew FY 2000 Brand Communications Strategy Source: PepsiCo *TABLE 3. 1 CONCLUSION Mountain Dew is a well renowned brand and it has maintained its position well by understanding the client psychology, by ensuring quality, by introducing ingenuity in products, by enlarging its product base, by keeping economic factors in view and by intense and jazzy advertisements.

    Whenever and where ever there is a spotlight event, Mountain Dew must figure in, like the one day international cricket matches between India and Pakistan many other such occasions. RECOMMENDATIONS The company shall offer sales promotional discounts, so wholesalers and retailers will be convince to display Mountain Dew products in their stores. The company must try to expand their market segments. Strengthen their distribution channels. Product retention through continuous promotions and advertisements. Inform the consumers about the emotional and personality benefits of Mountain Dew.

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