Here’s a question: Why don’t the good people at Mountain Dew use the classic bluegrass song “Mountain Dew” in an ad campaign? Well, possibly for two reasons. Outside of Béla Fleck, bluegrass is a tinny, repetitive genre of music that’s more popular with a small, devoted audience of the redneck elderly than with snowboarders. And besides, the “Mountain Dew” that the Stanley Brothers and Grandpa Jones sing about is moonshine, not soda. But it’s far from an open-and-shut case. Older country material (of which bluegrass is a relative) has been used in ads before—Pepsi used Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” and Burger King has Hootie crooning about chicken sandwiches to the tune of “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” As for the moonshine quibble, you could edit out any troublesome lines—or better yet, tie them into the brand’s history. On its Web site, Mountain Dew readily acknowledges its connection to whiskey, noting that the drink was originally a mixer. (The site also bravely mentions that early Mountain Dew labels featured “a hillbilly shooting at a revenuer fleeing an outhouse with a pig sitting in the corner.”) The song lyrics even offer a snappy tagline: “Them that refuse it are few.” This writer might even force some down out of sheer gratitude.
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