Mountain Dew challenges people to conquer fear

By Chhavi Tyagi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | January 19, 2009
The PepsiCo brand challenges the people of Goa to Dare to Win by shedding their phobias

In & #BANNER1 & # its usual fashion, Mountain Dew has thrown another challenge to those who dare. The campaign, jointly conceptualised by the Mountain Dew team and its agency, Mindshare Dialect, and further refined by Big FM, is an 18-day activity. The final leg of the activity was played out on January 18.

Alpana Titus, executive vice-president, flavours, PepsiCo, tells afaqs!, "Mountain Dew is one of our biggest marketing successes. Building on that, we wanted to give our consumers a touch and feel not only of the product, but also of the brand proposition itself. Since we have already done a lot of consumer activation in the North, this time we wanted to go to the West. And Goa seemed like the best place to start."

Titus speaks about the insight that the company shared with its agency and Big FM: "We know that everybody has it in them to win a challenge, but their fears hold them back. We, along with our agency and Big FM, worked on a challenge that would force people to break their boundaries and make them realise that victory is right there on the other side," she says.

Sunny Vohra, business director, Group M, North, says, "The activation has been designed as a pressure test for the contestants. Also, this is the perfect timing for a campaign in Goa - the season is just perfect."

Radio was used extensively to create buzz around the activation. Apart from creating radio spots, RJs were roped in to talk on phobia-based themes.

The hype was further escalated through OB (outdoor broadcasting) by Big FM at the canter (mobile vans) activity spots, where participants shared their excitement with the radio station's audiences.

For on-ground promotions, posters were put up in colleges and various youth hangouts to drive participation. A branded canter was driven through Goa to select the teams for the final race of the Dare to Win challenge.

At the activity spots, a number of improvised games were played to shortlist candidates for the final race, like arm wresting, bull riding and water tug of war. All the games required the participants to overcome some fear or phobia, such as fear of falling or fear of fighting against the best. The target group was challenged to come forward and conquer their fears.

In arm wrestling, the participants were challenged by a professional - whoever won or could hold on for the longest time won a pass to the final race.

For the water tug of war, the participants had to play an innovative version of ping-pong - with their mouths - in a small tub of water. As for the bull riding machine activity, whoever could ride the bull for the longest time, while finishing the maximum number of Mountain Dews, won a well deserved entry into the next phase.

A sampling initiative was also incorporated in the team selection procedure. Not only was every registrant provided a sample, but the contestants were also given a can or bottle of Mountain Dew at the beginning and at the end of the task. The onlookers who cheered the most were also given Mountain Dew to drink.

Through these activities, a total of 10 teams with two contestants each were chosen as the Mountain Dew challenger teams. They were to participate in the final race on January 18.

Nikhil Bajaj of Big Reach, the activation agency of Big FM, says that all the problems that could have arisen during the activation were creased out on the planning table itself. "The possibility of things going wrong is very huge when one is dealing with adventure sports. Keeping this in mind, we made all the arrangements to make the activity fun and hazard-free. The nitty-gritty was taken care of at the planning stage itself, so that there would be no problems later."

As with the on-ground activity, the final race, along with all the challenger teams, was promoted heavily through radio, on location and with mobile hoardings.

The final race was replete with opportunities for the teams to indulge their adventurous streak. To begin with, the two members of each team were given a Mountain Dew can and a bottle - finishing them would get them keys to their respective bikes to start the race.

The 10 teams raced from Dona Paula to Panaji, where two teams were eliminated through a task. Continuing the race, one member each of the remaining eight teams had to jet ski with an instructor to the other side of the Mandovi river, while the other members of the teams were to reach the jet ski finishing line on their bikes. From there, both the partners had to reach Aguada beach on their bikes.

Here again, two teams were eliminated through a modified version of a sand bowling game in order to test the participants' strength, control, precision and fear of losing.

The best performing six teams were given a partner, each parasailing from Aguada to Calangute, where more hurdles and games were organised to test their limits. The best performer was declared the winner of the Dare to Win challenge.

Titus claims that the response to the contest has been much better than they expected, with the activity receiving more than 500 entries each day.

"The campaign was not only hugely promoted, but also received a good amount of word of mouth publicity. We also made sure that none of the contestants were put in any danger while performing their tasks," she adds.