Mountain Dew was one of PepsiCo’s brands in the carbonated soft drinks category. In 1973, BBDO New York, PepsiCo’s “agency of records for Pepsi”, became the advertising agency for the Mountain Dew brand (Harvard Business School par. 4). BBDO was a leading ad firm that attracted high-end clients because of its creative marketing concepts. PepsiCo had been BBDO’s client for Pepsi throughout the 1960s. Since 1973, BBDO’s popular marketing campaigns for Mountain Dew include the ‘Hello Sunshine’ of the 1970s and the ‘Country Cool’ of the 1980s (Harvard Business School par. 14). Prior to 1973, the ad agency for the Mountain Dew brand was Ogilvy & Mather.
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Bill Bruce, BBDO’s creative director presented to PepsiCo’s management and Mountain Dew’s marketing director, Scott Moffitt, the estimated ad costs of Mountain Dew’s 2000 marketing campaigns. He indicated that the production costs of each commercial stood over one million dollars. Broadcasting the ads through the media would require a budget of $55 million.
Mountain Dew marketing strategies in the 1990s and 2000 differ in terms of the market segments they target. The aim of its first communication strategy (1993-94) was to inform its target segments, namely, male teens and young adults. In contrast, through its 2000 communication strategy, Mountain Dew targeted current clients (males aged between 20-39 years) and new customers, i.e., 18-year-old males. Its aim was to increase the brand’s appeal to these segments. Mountain Dew marketing strategies for 1995 to 1997 focused on two male segments, namely, the bull’s eye (18-year-olds) and broad (12-29 years). The 1998 strategy was expanded to include female consumers.
The brand communication strategies used in the 1990s and in 2000 focused on the drinking experience. The brand’s 2000 communication strategy portrayed the consumption of Mountain Dew as an ‘exhilarating experience’ (Harvard Business School par. 16). In contrast, the 1993 to 1999 strategies proclaimed that the experience of drinking the brand is exciting and unrivaled. The strategies emphasized ‘excitement, adventure, and fun’ as the key benefits of drinking Mountain Dew. However, the objectives of the strategies are different. The 1993-94 strategy aimed at informing the market while the 1995 strategy sought to differentiate Mountain Dew from rival brands.
In the 1990s, Mountain Dew executed its communication strategies through a range of marketing activities. These included the ‘Do Diet Dew’ trademark, outdoor sports, and metaphors such as ‘exhilarating intensity’. In contrast, the 2000 execution strategy depicted the drink as ‘energizing and thirst-quenching’ to attract new customers.
Moffitt hoped to select the top three storyboard commercials presented by Bruce for production. One of these alternatives was the ‘labor of love’, which depicted a story of a Dew drinker who is held by a baseball mitt during his birth (Harvard Business School par. 23). The third DMB&B’s advertising standards holds that an ad must “contain a Power Idea” (Belch and Belch 256). The ‘power idea’ in the commercial is ‘labor of love, which proclaims the arrival of an energetic Dew drinker. Therefore, the labor of love commercial scores high on this standard.
The fourth standard states that a good ad is the one that communicates the brand personality. The labor of love’s focus on baseball gives the product brand personality. It shows that Mountain Dew is not just a drink, but also a valuable energy drink, particularly to athletes. It is also clear that the ad targets sports fans, such as the Super Bowl audience. The eighth standard holds that good “advertising is visually arresting” (Belch and Belch 256). The sight of an energetic an infant who “shoots out of its mother like a cannonball” is captivating to young sports fans (Harvard Business School par. 23). Additionally, the sight of an infant born into a mitt makes the ad visually captivating and memorable.
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The first BMB&B advertising standard is that an ad should position the brand in a clear and simple way. It should have a clear vision to allow the target audience to know in an instant the product’s uses and the target users. Mountain Dew’s Labor of Love, Cheetah, and Dew or Die portray simple, but extraordinary feats of Dew drinkers, such as saving the planet from an evil villain and tackling a cheetah. The key idea of a match winner is unmistakable in the three ads. The second standard holds that a good ad should be one that enables the brand to capitalize on the “most persuasive and compelling consumer benefit” (Belch and Belch 256). The commercials essentially build on the winning mentality of baseball players and fans. The Dew Dudes in the ads are portrayed as winners or heroes, which is a persuasive benefit to consumers.
The third standard holds that an ad should contain a ‘power idea’, which is a simple, but creative concept that underlies the marketing efforts. The ‘power idea’ behind the Cheetah advert is to portray drinking Dew as an energizing experience. The loss of his drink motivates the character in this ad chases and tackles a cheetah. The power ideas are also expressed in simple phrases, such as ‘Cheetah’ and ‘Dew or Die’. The fourth standard focuses on the brand personality component of a commercial. Ads, such as the labor of love, contain baseball gear to portray an image that the brand is an athletes’ favorite. The fifth standard holds that “advertising should be unexpected” (Belch and Belch 256). Unique ads, in terms of design and execution, leave a lasting impression on the audience. The use of a delivery room makes Labor of love unique and memorable.
Advertising should also be single-minded to enhance recall. All the three ads focus on the exhilarating experience of the Dew drink. Based on the standards, an ad must “reward the prospect” by carrying an emotional stimulus (Belch and Belch 256). The sight of a man tackling a cheetah in the ‘Cheetah’ commercial can be stimulating. Based on BMB&B eighth standard, emotive scenes can also be captivating to the audience. The ninth standard focuses on painstaking artisanship in ads. The sight of a cheetah tackled by a person to retrieve his Dew drink indicates painstaking artisanship in the design of the advert.
According to Belch and Belch, ads with an emotional appeal emphasize on psychological attributes of target consumers (290). The labor of love utilizes an emotional appeal of love to convince the audience that the Mountain Dew drink provides energy to sustain individual performance. It also demonstrates the love and dependability when doctor manages to catch the high flying infant with a mitt. In contrast, the ‘Cheetah’ ad uses a rational appeal of to persuade the audience that Mountain Dew enhances performance and endurance. On the other hand, Dew or Die utilizes an emotional appeal of accomplishment. For example, the Dew Dudes in this ad conquer the evil character to save the world.
Ads can be executed in many ways. The Labor of Love uses animation execution that involves fictional characters of a Dew drinker and a doctor. Cheetah also uses animation and graphics to portray the cheetah and the Dew Dudes. In contrast, Dew or Die uses fantasy execution involving fictional characters and an evil villain.
Belch, George, and Michael Belch. Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2011. Print.
Harvard Business School. Mountain Dew: Selecting New Creative. 2002. Web.