3 Mountain Dew flavors battle to death in Dewmocracy campaign

Posted on Tue Apr 20 2010

PepsiCo's Mountain Dew has released three new consumer-generated flavors—Distortion, Typhoon and White Out—though only one will survive. The product introductions comprise stage two of a year-long, social-media-backed crowdsourcing effort, in which the beverage brand asked fans what they were looking for from their favorite drink. TV and online ads breaking this week ask consumers to narrow the three down to one. (Sorry, America.) In the ad shown here, a shirtless beach dude guzzles some Typhoon and orange-and-red tidal waves and a typhoon-like-swirl build in the ocean. See the other two spots at Dewmocracy.com. In the White Out ad, a woman being pursued by ninjas is able to escape by blending into a wall, thanks to the beverage or her awesome camouflage skills. The chosen flavor will join last year's winner, Mountain Dew Voltage, on shelves on Labor Day.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

PepsiCo set to debut environmentally friendly vending machines

Posted on Mon Mar 30 2009


Who really thinks of the fact that vending machines emit greenhouse gases and use hydrofluorocarbons? Pepsi, apparently. The No. 2 cola maker today said it is rolling out the first eco-friendly vending machines in the U.S. These green machines will begin popping up this month in Washington, D.C. They emit 12 percent less greenhouse gas and use carbon dioxide, a natural refrigerant, instead of HFCs. This marks the first time that vending machines cooled by CO2 have been introduced In America. PepsiCo is also eliminating HFCs from the insulating foam in vending machines, coolers and fountain equipment. It's also testing thousands of machines around the world that rely on other green refrigerants, including isobutane and propane. Pepsi last week also announced the lightest plastic bottled-water packaging in the country. Maybe Pepsi should change its colors to green and white.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Aquafina tells the world, 'Our water bottle is skinnier than yours'

Posted on Wed Mar 25 2009

In the early '80s, there was a joke in the beverage industry where execs looked at water and said, "If only we could just bottle this stuff!" Oh, how they laughed. Sure, there were some bottled-water brands, like Perrier, but they served mostly as a punch line (like in Heathers). But then the dam broke, and by the '90s the bottled-water trend had firmly taken hold. All the brands launched massive campaigns to position themselves as healthier, purer, better water. The brilliant marketers had us all feeling like if we drank tap water we were either uncool or unhealthy. Today, all of that spin has gone out the window. Consumers have begun a backlash against bottled water because it's expensive (water can generally be had for free) and wasteful (plastic isn't so good at decomposing). Well, they can't lower their prices than they already have, so now they are attacking the second problem—waste. Today, Aquafina announced it now has the lightest bottle in the market. Its "Eco-fina" bottle uses 50 percent less plastic, saving an estimated 75 million pounds of the stuff annually. While that is truly admirable, it likely won't help category sales, which are beginning to resemble more of a flushing toilet than a gushing dam.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Arnell Group gingerly rolls out Sedgwick ad campaign for Trop50

Posted on Mon Mar 23 2009


The O.J. executives at PepsiCo have announced their first big campaign for the Tropicana brand since jettisoning (and subsequently unjettisoning) the beloved straw-in-the-orange package design. This time around, the work is for newer sibling Trop50, which has 50 percent fewer calories and contains the all-natural sweetener Stevia. Kyra Sedgwick (a 2007 Golden Globe winner for best actress for The Closer) stars in a new TV and print campaign launching today from (who else?) The Arnell Group. (See a larger version of this ad here.) Those who actually liked the ditched redesign for Tropicana Pure Premium will be happy: The despised design still appears in the ads. Upon announcing its plans to go back to the old straw-in-the-orange look, Tropicana executives said they will continue to run ads featuring the now infamous Arnell redesign. Let's hope we don't have another huge ruckus.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Mountain Dew switches over from 'Halo 3' to 'World of Warcraft'

Posted on Mon Mar 23 2009


Mountain Dew will launch two limited-edition World of Warcraft Game Fuel beverages this summer: Alliance Blue ("wild fruit" flavor) and Horde Red ("citrus cherry" flavor). Game Fuel is the name of the Mountain Dew brand targeted specifically at gamers. The first Game Fuel beverage, also a citrus cherry flavor, was released in 2007 to promote Halo 3. Though it's switched games, it's nice that the PepsiCo brand continues to recognize one of its more loyal consumer bases. Other products should follow suit. Deodorants need not apply.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

All Sport, the sports-drink brand that for some reason won't die

Posted on Wed Mar 11 2009


In the '90s, PepsiCo hatched its own sports drink called All Sport. For whatever reason, it was lightly carbonated (not sure why athletes would want that), and pretty much never gained any significant market share from Gatorade fans (because everyone wanted to be like Mike). After Coke balked at buying Quaker Oats, which it was eyeing mostly for its crown jewel Gatorade, Pepsi swooped in and snapped it up for a cool $13.4 billion in 2000. Ironically, there were concerns at the FTC about PepsiCo owning Gatorade and the underwhelming All Sport. To appease those concerns, Pepsi sold All Sport to the little-known Monarch Beverages. The brand's presence continued to dwindle to near non-existence until, lo and behold, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group relaunched it this week. In what is at least its fourth try, the brand is now being touted as the first, all-natural zero-calorie sports drink. It uses the new, hip sweetener rebiana. While an all-natural, no-calorie sports drink is a great idea, and it's nice to see Dr Pepper Snapple pioneering something for the first time in forever, why bring back All Sport? The brand has zero equity with consumers and has never posted anything close to strong sales. If anything, the people who did try it in its carbonated version, or saw it in its horribly repackaged form under Monarch, probably think it sucks.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

No Fear enlists cagefighter to kick some major energy-drink ass

Posted on Tue Mar 3 2009


In case you were wondering just what the official energy drink of World Extreme Cagefighting is, it's the PepsiCo brand No Fear. In case you were wondering why No Fear doesn't get as much hype as some other PepsiCo brands, it's because Pepsi has made big bets on Amp, by partnering with Dale Earnhardt Jr., and on Rockstar, with which it recently signed a distribution deal. Why so many energy drinks? Well, it's the one non-alcoholic beverage category (besides enhanced water) that is growing, so both Pepsi and Coke figure the more merrier. (Coke inked a deal to distribute Monster and also owns Full Throttle and Nos.) It's fitting, then, that the scrappy No Fear brand would select 29-year-old cagefighter Urijah Faber (shown here), aka The California Kid, the former WEC World Featherweight champion, as its spokesman. The mixed martial artist, who is 22-2 as a professional (and eager to regain the title he lost to Mike Brown in November), fronts No Fear's "Earn Some Cred" promotion (see the full poster here) as well as a national sweepstakes called "Roll with Urijah." As part of the effort, Faber will come to your house and kick your ass if you're caught drinking a Coke brand.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Mountain Dew is great until it completely rots out all your teeth

Posted on Thu Feb 26 2009

Mdmouth copy

There used to be a joke in corporate America that if you heard Mike Wallace mention your brand name, it wouldn't be a good day. As Pepsi found out last week, it's not much better when it's Diane Sawyer.
  As part of a series on impoverished Americans living in Appalachia, ABC News aired a segment on an oral ailment with the oh-so-memorable name of "Mountain Dew Mouth." The producers came across Dr. Edwin Smith of Barbourville, Ky., who's sunk $150,000 of his own money into a mobile dental office to treat kids whose teeth have rotted to the gumline thanks to their copious consumption of Mountain Dew. Before a national audience, Smith related stories of babies "doing the Dew" thanks to mothers who put the stuff in their bottles, and teenagers pulling their teeth with pliers because of the pain.
  That was last Thursday. You can imagine the kind of morning the PR folks in Purchase, N.Y., had on Friday. But the ensuing response to the PR fiasco was, well, another PR fiasco. First came a statement saying it was wrong to blame decay on the Dew, because raisins and cookies stay in the mouth longer. Strike one. Next came a statement saying PepsiCo soft drinks "consumed in moderation can be part of a healthy, balanced diet." Strike two. Finally, a third release said PepsiCo vp of global health Dr. Derek Yach had phoned the dentist to find out how the company could help. That, it seems, was more like it.
  Note to brands: When a national news show accuses your product of hurting 11-year-old boys who are too poor for shoes, the only solution is to write a check.

—Posted by Robert Klara

PepsiCo completely screws up Tropicana, then admits it

Posted on Mon Feb 23 2009


PepsiCo is off to a rocky start with the Arnell Group. First, a seemingly ridiculous brief bearing an overwrought justification of the new Pepsi/Obama logo was leaked. Now, PepsiCo has said it will revert Tropicana back to its old packaging because people absolutely hated it. The packaging, which was triumphed by Peter Arnell, was deemed too confusing and too much like some regular ole’ generic store brand. This led one design agency executive to comment offhand and off-the-record: “Well, that’s what you get when you let an ad agency attempt package design.” Even the New York Times teed off on Tropicana likening it to New Coke. Ouch!

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

It's Mtn Dew now, as texting officially invades brand packaging

Posted on Fri Feb 13 2009


Spelling out the word "mountain" is just so damn tedious, what with its four vowels and two n's. Really, who's got the time? That's why PepsiCo has rebranded Mountain Dew as Mtn Dew. Kids who are used to texting "c u l8r" will surely get it. The move is not unprecedented. Burger is BK, Kentucky Fried Chicken is KFC, and The Athlete's Foot is TAF. (Yes, that last one probably has to do with the chain's embarrassment at being named after a fungus.) Though I have to say, it doesn't work for every brand. I still get pissed off every time a see a 100 Grand chocolate bar. WTF? The $100,000 bar had a much better ring to it.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



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