Dear Mountain Dew,
As a fourth year student in business school, all of my focus is on a career in marketing. I spend hours watching television commercials, leafing through print ads, and online, researching web ads. I love researching ads from the past. From the fifties, right up to those goofy nuns chugging Doctor Pepper back in the late 1970’s. With old ads, you have the advantage of history—to know what worked and what didn’t, and possibly why.
I’ve concluded that today’s advertising in the United States, has become far too watered down, politically correct, and too neutered. Aside from a company like Axe, who sells their product as a means to “get chicks”, everything else has become so vanilla, so dull.
When I saw your DEWmocracy promotion, I about fell out of my chair. I couldn’t believe my eyes--a big company who is actually willing to name their product after a typhoon. “Well”, I said, “that is something else”.
Mountain Dew Typhoon is bold. It’s brash. On some level, it’s insensitive, but that’s okay once in a while. I’m sure; initially there will be some backlash—probably from the Chinese government. However, as you and I both know, media attention, good or bad, equates to free publicity.
By stirring the pot, Pepsi creates attention. Attention leads to consumer interest, which leads to Coke dollars winding up in the Pepsi coffers. It starts with the foreign country-hating subset. It continues with the Weather Channel Slappies who DVR the storm season coverage. When someone raises too big of a stink, you throw $200,000 into a newly formed Pepsi Typhoon Relief Fund, and spin your product as “designed to create awareness”. More cheap publicity, more Coke dollars from human interest fans.
I’m going to be loosely basing my final dissertation on your product. Since we are required to “invent” a product for our case study, I’m creating a Tsunami Energy Drink. Same idea—let the consumers pick it from three choices. Market it heavily, weather the backlash, kick off the relief fund, and reap all of the profits along the way. When consumer interest dies down in 14-18 months, make it quietly go way, just in time for the next promotion.
I have a few more questions:
1) Was Typhoon the idea of one person, or does the whole Marketing Team share credit? I was just wondering if there’s a new whiz kid around there. It’s so different and far out compared to your past work.
2) Were other natural disasters considered? (volcano, tornado, monsoons, etc.)? Just wondering what the thought process was for name selection.
Any information that you can provide is greatly appreciated.
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