As senior VP-strategy and marketing for Pepsi-Cola North America, she increased the marketing budget to avoid cannibalizing other brand spending, used efficient national media buys and pushed the agency, BBDO Worldwide, New York, to produce breakthrough creative.
Sales grew faster than Diet Coke in 1999, according to Information Resources Inc., making Mountain Dew the No. 3 soft drink in mass market and convenience stores.
The greatest number of Dew consumers are concentrated in the Great Lakes and Southeastern states, says Ms. Hudson, 43.
Agency staffers credit Ms. Hudson's laser focus on getting "in the head" of her customer combined with the sense to stick with what works.
"You might find me on a snowboard," she says, "but I'll never say I know what a teen-ager is thinking."
To build market penetration, Ms. Hudson stepped up the brand's urban appeal, signing on hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes and placing a more sophisticated group of "Dew Dudes" in extreme but world-wise settings.
Those efforts boosted brand relevance and popularity scores among African-American and Hispanic consumers; in addition, the product's suburban base grew.