MTN Dew: an America's Hottest Brands Case Study

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It's no secret that the carbonated soft-drink category has been reeling, from the economy and from increased competition from other beverage categories and consumers' shifting preferences. But that hasn't slowed down Mtn Dew, which had volume growth of 1% in the first half, as the overall category declined by 2.7%, according to Beverage Digest.

"It's rooted in the fact that Mtn Dew has always remained true to itself," said Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer-sparkling beverages. "Rewind 10 or 15 years and the spin was always that it was a great niche brand. And as a niche brand, people never thought it would have an impact on the broader portfolio or on the CSD space. ... Niche ideas are now the primary drivers of culture today."

Although PepsiCo is a mass-marketing machine and Mtn Dew is the country's fourth-largest soft-drink brand, it continues to speak directly to its core consumers. Case in point, the brand is currently in the process of opening up an agency review (to consumers) for its three new Dewmocracy products. Agencies, film companies and individuals are submitting their marketing ideas, and consumers will ultimately select the agencies that produce the spots. The brand has also been focused on its Green Label platform, which involves music, art and entertainment and promotes emerging artists.

Frank Cooper
Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer-sparkling beverages, PepsiCo
"The best way to grow Mtn Dew was not to speak to a broader set of consumers but to speak authentically to the people that love Mtn Dew," said Mr. Cooper.

Mtn Dew is well past having an awareness problem, even among older consumers. The brand has been attracting boomers and Generation X with Throwback and Diet Dew, Mr. Cooper said. Throwback, a limited-edition version of Mtn Dew sweetened with natural sugar and sporting a retro design, proved so popular that it's coming back for another run. Diet Dew, meanwhile, has enjoyed four consecutive years of growth, as regular Dew consumers have traded to diet.

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