Mtn Dew is bringing back three flavors as limited-time offerings, as Pitch Black, Supernova, and Typhoon will re-appear on store shelves to compliment the regular line of Mtn Dew options. Advertising Age’s article mentions that Mtn Dew have listened to their fans from Facebook and Twitter about which flavors to bring back (article link here) and will be introducing them. Mtn Dew will thank fans for their support of the beverage, and name some of these famous fans (“All-Stars”) in upcoming advertisements. You can check out their Facebook splash page here.
This is an interesting marketing strategy by Mtn Dew, where they can also gain a lot of credibility. By going back to flavors the worked in the past and re-introducing them, Mtn Dew shows their loyalists they the company is listening to them. Not to mention it also saves them time and effort in having to gain traction for these beverages because all these flavors already have some level of familiarity with beverage drinkers. And by publicizing fans in the campaign, in addition to launching strong digital efforts on Facebook and Twitter, Mtn Dew shows fans that they “get it”.
Unfortunately, while Mtn Dew as a whole “gets it” in the United States, the same can’t be said for Canada. There are minimal Mtn Dew offerings available here in Canada, and the packaging itself is still old-fashioned. So with all the support south of the border, why has there been less engaging efforts here? Is the beverage market here in Canada more fragmented than that of the United States, meaning that their chances of hitting a home run with limited-time offerings are unlikely? Or is the beverage market too consolidated, making it unlikely where these special offers will gain any traction at all? Or both? My guess is the latter, where the carbonated soft drinks market is too consolidated, along with the fact that Canadians (on the most part) are not as adventurous with our beverages.
Take a look at what you can find in the convenience store or grocery store aisle, and you’ll see that most retailers stick to the main top-selling flavors. For more proof, pick up one or two of the more obscure drinks and look at its best before date, and see how close it is to passing this date. This would prove that Canadians like their soft drinks, but only the popular ones. And while consumers may be adventurous and receptive to trying new beverages, there are multiple factors that prevent the products from ever hitting store shelves. First, the manufacturer/distributor sales team must convince a retailer to carry the product with sales potential, supportive marketing efforts, and maybe even listing/slotting fees. At the same time, both the retailer and the sales team are mindful of their budgeting and sales targets, where if the product is not successful then both parties lose money. Secondary, if a product is introduced and the retailer chooses to carry it, some other slow-selling product must be taken away in other to gain shelf space. Even if you are successful at showing your product’s potential, you must convince the retailer to make space for your product at the expense of another product, maybe one of your own products. So even if the consumer is willing to try the beverage, the retailer may not want to carry it despite its potential because it does not beat out any existing product on shelf.
Not to say that Canadians don’t ever get a chance to embrace new beverages, but compared to the amount of new product introductions in the United States, we are very far behind. The next time you want to try a new product, head over to your convenience store or gas station…across the border.