Mountain Dew Chose Its New Permanent Flavor by Tapping Into Cult Social Following

Pitch Black wins DEWcision 2016

This summer Mountain Dew kicked off an epic competition for its die-hard fans. Dew fans had spent years asking for two flavors, Baja Blast and Pitch Black, to be sold permanently in stores. Mountain Dew was only going to bring one flavor back forever so it decided to let the fans vote in the DEWcision 2016 campaign.

In true Dew fashion, the brand wanted to find an epic way to unveil the results of a three-month-long vote. Today the brand announced, through skywriting in New York, that Pitch Black was the ultimate winner—with 50.5 percent of voters selecting it. Overall the competition drew in nearly 5.8 million votes, with fans voting on Twitter using the hashtags #VotePitchBlack and #VoteBajaBlast. Pitch Black will permanently be available in stores beginning in September.

"It wouldn't be done in the Dew way, when we're a brand that's all about pushing boundaries and keeping our consumer at the heart of everything, [to just] to let them know through an announcement or some sort of blast," Ryan Collis, senior director of marketing for Mountain Dew, told Adweek. 

So how did a soda brand manage to drum up such an intense following and get fans bathing in their product?

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Over the course of DEWcision 2016, the brand hosted a number of events and opportunities for fans to get involved in the campaign, including a resurrection of the '90s cult favorite GUTS Aggro Crag, where fans could race up the mountain, competing for their favorite flavor. The goal was to push the consumer to participate in different challenges throughout the campaign. Completing one of the challenges meant that fans got more votes.

"There's no incentive to vote and no monetary action that people get from voting. That was one of the things we really talked a lot about. There's no reason to incentivize people with some sort of a tangible award or money reward to vote or a chance to win something. This is a pure passion and love for these flavors and the Mountain Dew brand," Collis said.

The brand looked at some crazy stunts that Dew fans had done in the past to decide what challenges it would include in the most recent campaign. Some fans took Dew baths, so one challenge asked fans to select his or her favorite flavor, fill a bathtub with bottles of it and take a bath in it. Another asked fans to dye their hair green for Baja Blast or purple for Pitch Black and then post photos to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Because I really want pitch black to win. #votepitchblack #dewbath

A photo posted by Joshua StJohn (@jstjohn83) on

"As marketers it's incredibly special to see the role the brand has in these consumer lives and how we can interact with the consumer in this way. Really it makes us know that everything we do, we need to put the consumer at the heart of it, and that brand love is alive and well with the Dew nation," Collis added.

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