5 Incredible Moments From #DEWcision 2016, Which Really Got Out of Hand
In 1946, two brothers from Tennessee concocted a lemony drink to mix with their whiskey. They designed a label with a hillbilly mascot, and dubbed it what those “hillbillies” called their local moonshine—a Mountain Dew.
Fast forward 70 years, and most of Mountain Dew’s original history has been painted over to attract a “younger, outdoorsy generation.” (Kids just don’t drink moonshine the way they used to.) Even the drink’s singular green color scheme has been diversified with a motley of new flavors—over 40 since the early ’90s. Many of these spinoffs were designed or selected by consumers through hype campaigns with painfully punny names, like DEWmocracy or FanDEWmonium.
The company’s latest promotion, DEWcision 2016, asks fans to vote a discontinued flavor—either Baja Blast or Pitch Black—back onto shelves permanently. It has less to do with concluding which flavor is more marketable; Mountain Dew likely chose these two specific flavors because it knew both could succeed. Rather, it’s an incredible exercise in exploiting consumers’ nostalgia and love of Mountain Dew-themed hashtags.
Also, a love of challenges. Over the past couple of months, Mountain Dew has pushed fans to complete a number of ridiculous challenges to rack up votes for their favorite flavor.
Let’s just say that things really got out of hand.
Let’s start with one of the least bizarre moments from Mountain Dew’s campaign. In June, Mountain Dew teamed up with Nickelodeon to make every millennial’s dream come true by bringing back the infamous Aggro Crag from GUTS—one of the many Nickelodeon shows from the ’90s that pitted kids in neon shirts against other kids in neon shirts in a battle to the death.
Former GUTS host Mike O’Malley even showed up to interact with the crowd and hawk DVD box sets of Yes Dear on the sly.
Perhaps the most impressive fan challenge was this #DewTower by Nancy Calvillo. The symmetry here is astounding. An architecture school should reach out with a scholarship.
— Nancy Calvillo (@nsc97471) June 21, 2016
I actually got in touch with Calvillo because her Twitter feed is drowning in Mountain Dew. On top of having competed in all the challenges, she voted for Pitch Black 100 times every day for over two weeks. She told me that though she enjoys Baja Blast, she can already get it at Taco Bell and ultimately likes “Pitch Black a bit better [because] it has the best grape flavor I have ever tasted.”
Lucas, I feel you. Because while you may have nothing better to do than make a #DewBath, I have nothing better to do than write about your #DewBath.
— Lucas (@musical_lucas) June 8, 2016
Is this peak brand evangelism? I think it is.
If you squint hard enough, you can see a moral victory for Mountain Dew here. These Los Angeles lax bros in training could be chugging some Natty Ice they bought with their older brother’s ID, but instead, they’re helping Mountain Dew’s marketing team make a tough decision with a heated game of Dew pong.
It’s probably only a matter of time before Mountain Dew shoves them in a van and takes them around the country to battle other #brandevangelists. Personally, I think Nancy Calvillo could kick their butt.
— Truman (@tr_m4n) June 16, 2016
You have to admire the audacity of Mountain Dew’s marketing team, which at some point must have sat down in a meeting and said, “You know what? People probably love us enough to turn themselves into a leprechaun.” They were right!
— Micheal King (@KingTaderNutz) May 16, 2016
Sadly, we’re near the end of a spectacular era in American advertising. DEWcision 2016 voting has ended, and the winner will be announced on Thursday, July 14. It’s hard to say who’s the true winner here, but really, I think it’s all of us.Image by Getty