If you ever wanted to conjure racing star Dale Earnhardt Jr. from thin air, Diet Mtn Dew's latest promotional item may offer the best shot.
On Tuesday, nascar.com will start selling a Diet Mtn Dew-branded "Dale call" in response to a deluge of fan requests to produce a device for summoning Mr. Earnhardt that was featured in a commerical for the soft-drink brand early this year.
The call, which makes a roaring engine noise, will retail for $14.99. It will be be for sale Sunday at the Talladega Superspeedway, where Mr. Earnhardt will race the Diet Mtn Dew car with "#dalecall" on the side to help push the product on social media.
Both Diet Mtn Dew and Nascar tend to appeal to Gen-X male fans, and the call was a perfect way to target that shared demographic, said Umi Patel, a director-brand marketing at Mtn Dew parent PepsiCo. "Nascar fans and Dew fans are incredibly passionate," Ms. Patel said. "There's so much overlap" in their lifestyle, she said, especially in their love of sports like Nascar, hunting and fishing.
Fans first came across the idea for the gadget in a spot in which two duck hunters are having an unsuccessful day when one pulls out his Diet Mtn Dew-green Dale call. He blows on it, producing a rumble that summons Mr. Earnhardt in his No. 88 car (along with a flock of ducks).
The BBDO ad has been viewed more than 4.5 million times on YouTube since January, and Ms. Patel said hundreds of consumers called on PepsiCo to produce a real-life version of the call in just a few days after it aired.
"We saw this craze from consumers," Ms. Patel said. "They absolutely loved the commercial."
The calls grew into the thousands and were still coming in when Mr. Earnhardt tweeted in late August that the product would become a reality.
Y'all asked for em. Going on sale Sept/Oct. probably around Talladega. Trackside/Nascar.com pic.twitter.com/xtBQ5WU9Gp— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) August 20, 2014
"I have to have one!" one fan wrote in response to the tweet. "OMG!!!!! I can not wait!!!!!!" another wrote.
The Dale call, which (full disclosure) did not summon Mr. Earnhardt to the Advertising Age office, but puts out a lot of volume. Ms. Patel said that makes it perfect for the excitement of the track, although there could be other uses.
"We're talking about using them in meetings to get people to meetings," she said.