Mtn Dew must be doing something right, because it remains one of the few brands in the carbonated-soft drinks business to demonstrate some growth lately. No doubt the brand’s unparalleled social media effort is partly responsible.
The latest example of Mtn Dew’s cutting-edge mastery of social media? It’s one of the first activations by any brand of Lenses, a new Snapchat feature that recognizes a face from a selfie and applies a “lens” to it, or animates it, with interesting filters. One that Mtn Dew demonstrated showed a millennial man with throbbing pink hearts in his eyeglasses as he looked at the bottle of Dew in his hand.
“Being first mover on new platforms is something we always try to do and is very much a part of our legacy,” Christine Ngo, digital brand manager for Mtn Dew, told brandchannel. “When using new features and jumping on technologies, we want to experiment and introduce new things to our fan group.”
Mt Dew has used Snapchat before, in a Super Bowl Sunday event in February that was kicked off with what Ngo called the “first-ever fan-created live-Snapchat activation” connected with Mtn Dew’s pre-game TV ad. Snapchat also is core to the brand’s Dew Tour extreme-sports sponsorship “and is core to our always-on strategy,” she said, including a weekly Snapchat execution.
To fuel its social media-intense marketing strategy, Ngo said that brand and agency personnel “have our ear to the ground all the time waiting for announcements to come out” about new platforms and experiments, “so we can drop what we’re doing and brainstorm on new ways to engage our fans.” Mtn Dew representatives also constantly trek to Silicon Valley for meetings and to find out what’s coming next. “That has helped us build an infrastructure that allows us to move on things and prepare for things,” said Ngo.
So, for instance, when Twitter announced auto play, “We were on that within an hour, showing a long stream of Baja Blast in front of our fans,” Ngo said. “And when Instagram announced its new portrait and landscape format, she said, “We were there within 40 minutes.”
Mtn Dew has other things going for it these days. One important factor is its new Kickstart line, which hit $100 million in sales in its first year on the market, and now, in its third year, already has zoomed to $400 million.
PepsiCo Vice Chairman Mehmoot Khan recently told brandchannel that Mtn Dew Kickstart came from R&D staffers who “heard from consumers that there were a significant number who didn’t like the taste of coffee or the baggage of energy drinks, from an ingredient and calorie point of view, but wanted a refreshing, wake-me-up type of drink…and they liked the taste of juice.”
So PepsiCo research got to work creating Kickstart. Khan noted that the company “created the next billion-dollar platform from scratch.”
But clearly, PepsiCo executives count heavily on the close-to-the-action social media mavens at Mtn Dew to keep the brand at the pinnacle of relevance with its fans.
“We feel passionate and excited about this stuff,” Ngo said. “The pace is constantly changing and evolving. You can never stay bored.”