Have you been to Mountain Dew Canada’s facebook page lately? If not, the above image is their cover photo stipulating that something big happens later this month. After reading through some comments and updates, it appears that DEWmocracy will be coming to Canada. In short, DEWmocracy is Mountain Dew’s social media campaign that leverages their fan base to help choose a new flavor to complement their current assortment. These fans and other engaged consumers can vote and decide the fate of the four pre-determined flavors. These four alternatives are: Code Red, Voltage, White Out, and Super Nova. The winning flavor becomes a limited time or a regular offering depending on feedback and sales.
While product launch campaigns of this type have usually ended miserably, Mountain Dew product launches have traditionally performed well. The DEWmocracy campaigns have been done before – twice – and both have ended successfully with a new popular flavor hitting store shelves. Whether it has become a mainstay flavor or a limited time offering, it has succeeded in creating excitement for the beverage brand among consumers. But that was the U.S., and this is Canada. Will it meet the American success levels, or will it fall short of expectations?
The Canadian DEWmocracy campaign is different from the American version, and therefore will translate very different results. However, the fact that it has history to leverage and examples of best-in-class marketing execution should definitely bolster its chances of success. Mountain Dew wins here because some of these flavors were part of the American DEWmocracy (ie Super Nova and Voltage) that were previously voted on, and even a past winner (Voltage won the first DEWmocracy). That said, there is a certain level of expected success for these flavors when the Canadian DEWmocracy begins. What helps is that there already exists strong social engagement on facebook and twitter backing some of these existing flavors, so there promises to be even stronger engagement once the campaign fully launches. The end result is a lower percentage of product launch failure. This would likely represent one of the safest product launches in recent history, since whatever flavor wins DEWmocracy will experience its steady flow of sales from its voters, while also capturing some of the other voters’ dollars in the process.
Retailers that stock these flavors should also see a measurable level of success as well. Given the media support that Mountain Dew puts behind this product introduction and the existing interest among Dew drinkers, the retailer can also expect to see stronger sales than other product introductions.
Consumers definitely win here because they put their money where their votes are. The winning product will be the most preferred Mountain Dew line extension among the Canadian Dew consumers. Some cult followers may even breathe a sigh of relief since they no longer have to drive across the border to purchase this extension (if it’s also the winning flavor that won the American Dewmocracies).
Using social engagement efforts to drive a product launch can be a hit or miss, more often misses. This misses have been chronicled and Mountain Dew was one of these misses as well from their “Dub the Dew” campaign. However, Mountain Dew’s DEWmocracy has been successful the last two times so there is no reason to believe that it won’t be seeing some level of success when it launches a line extension in Canada.