It looks like Mountain Dew Canada’s crowdsourcing contest has brought another drink flavor to grocery shelves for permanent distribution. Following their win in Canada’s first Backed By Popular DEWmand, Code Red (Cherry) will return to shelves alongside Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew, and Voltage (Raspberry Citrus). Code Red had been available in the U.S. since 2002 and is considered one of the brand’s most successful extensions, so it should not be a surprise that it won the contest. That said, after bringing in another flavor extension – and essentially doubling their assortment from two items to four items – what will Mountain Dew do next year in Canada? Should they (or will they) repeat this consumer activity, or give a rest to avoid fatigue?
We can look toward the American crowdsourcing contests for some insights. The first DEWmocracy ran in 2007, and again in 2009. Backed by Popular DEWmand ran in 2011 to resurrect a flavor for a limited duration. Beyond those three consumer activities that helped launch (or re-introduce) new soda variants, it appears Mountain Dew had abandoned the promotion in favor of other marketing activities. A BrandWeek interview in 2010 with Brett O’Brien (Pepsi’s Marketing Director) described that the key objective was to openly and honestly communicate with Dew fans and consumers (link here). It could be that Mountain Dew learned to focus on developing an entire social platform (ie Green Label) to engage with their fans on a sustained basis, rather than support crowdsourcing contests that generated a short term surge in conversations and awareness.
On the Canadian front, running this contest again in 2015 may induce fatigue. Having ran the social media contests so close together (back-to-back years of 2013 and 2014), repeating this campaign for 2015 may lead beverage enthusiasts tuning out. Worse yet, so much repetition may lead consumers to consider the brand as boring and unimaginative. Despite the gap in available flavors, the Canadian team could decide to execute some other initiatives to launch new drink flavors or drive consumer engagement. At the very least, their campaign findings could be compared with the American counterparts to determine next steps.
Ultimately, Mountain Dew’s crowdsourcing campaigns have delivered them two years of success and made many people happy along the way – consumers and retailers alike. And the main message that they may have learned? Is that Canadians and Americans alike are passionate about Mountain Dew.