Reversing a Four-Year Sales Slide

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3 of 25 > GO TO Next 2005 Woman to Watch

After a four-year sales slide, Mountain Dew volume grew 1.5% in 2004, making it the only full-calorie soft drink to show meaningful growth as consumers migrated to diet drinks and water. The credit belongs largely to Angelique Bellmer Krembs, marketing director for all the Mountain Dew brands at Pepsi-Cola North America.

Angelique Bellmer Krembs, marketing director for Mountain Dew brands, Pepsi-Cola North America.
A voice of the consumer
Called a voice of the consumer by colleagues, Ms. Krembs lobbied to restore marketing resources to the base Mountain Dew despite the industry’s dependence on line extensions to freshen brands. “I just knew there was so much pent-up growth in the brand from talking to users on how much passion there was,” she says.

“Angelique is an incredibly passionate advocate for the brand,” says Katie Lacey, vice president of carbonated beverages at Pepsi-Cola North America.

To get Mountain Dew back on track, “we aimed all of our guns at the regular brand,” Ms. Krembs, 37, says. She spearheaded the biggest brand promotion in the Dew U loyalty program last year, had a new graphics package created and launched this year and shifted most if not all media spending onto regular Dew. To better reach teens where they culturally live, Ms. Krembs lobbied to increase grassroots activities like sponsoring the And 1 Mix Tape street basketball tour and the Dew Action Sports Tour.

From action sports to video games
Ms. Krembs experimented with new programs based on the insight that Dew grew to a top 10 soft-drink brand based on its connection with Generation X but that it needed to forge connections with Millennials, who are quite different. One resulting shift: instead of focusing on TV coverage of Gen X-watching Dew Action Sports Tour, she led the brand into video games.

“Dew is a much bigger brand than it was in 1990s so it should have multiple platforms,” she says. “It acts more as a mainstream lever today than it was 10 year ago, and gaming becomes our edge. We broadened our relevance that way.”

“She’s been able to cut through [hundreds of ideas] that are a good balance of reinforcing what the brand is about and extending it to new places that it needs to go and should go,” says Cathy Israelevitz, senior vice president and senior account director on Pepsi at Omnicom Group’s BBDO Worldwide, New York.

Started out in banking
Ms. Krembs started her career in banking and joined PepsiCo’s finance department after graduate school. “Once I got there, I realized the heart and blood of the company was in marketing,” she says.

While you won’t see Ms. Krembs thrashing down a mountain or doing bike tricks, she gets the extreme ethos of Dew consumers. She played hockey in grad school, and her destination wedding last year was in the Azores off Portugal.

“My family joked that because I work for Mountain Dew I always have to be on the edge,” she says. “Trust me, I’m nowhere near as cool as our target.”

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