In what is being seen as a strategic move aimed at wresting the initiative in the lemon-lime segment of the Indian carbonated soft drinks (CSD) market, Pepsi India has launched citrus drink Mountain Dew in the country. The US-based brand - which has been a part of PepsiCo Inc.'s portfolio since 1964 - was launched at a press conference in Mumbai yesterday, although the brand was 'informally' introduced in Goa some three weeks ago. The nationwide rollout is expected to be in place by the first week of February.
Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Lloyd Mathias, vice-president - marketing (non-colas), Pepsi Foods, said, "Mountain Dew is the third largest soft drink brand in the US today, and is also the fastest growing soft drink brand. The brand's launch in India furthers Pepsi's innovation agenda, which was set off with the launch of Pepsi Aha last year." He added that Mountain Dew complements Pepsi's existing CSD range, and promised that the brand will "restructure the lemon-lime category in India".
That Pepsi needs a strong brand in the critical lemon-lime segment is fairly obvious. While actual figures pertaining to market shares are anybody's guess, cloudy lemon drink Limca (from the Coca-Cola India stable) is broadly seen to be leading the segment. And Sprite, the clear lime brand from Coke, is at number two. "Limca and Sprite are leading the category, and neither of Pepsi's offerings (clear lime brand 7 Up, and cloudy lemon brand Mirinda Lemon) have made significant inroads," observes one agency executive with years of CSD-market experience. "For Pepsi, Mountain Dew is as good a bet as any."
Mathias, for one, believes that Mountain Dew will do the trick for Pepsi. "This is a first-of-its-kind drink in India," he offers. "Its unique citrus taste will be a new experience for the Indian consumer." He also brushes aside fears about the brand cannibalizing 7 Up. "I think the comparisons arise from the colour of the bottle, but if you look at the drink, you'll notice that Mountain Dew has a unique neon colour, while 7 Up is clear. Also, the tastes are very different. Plus, brand differentiation will also be communicated through the advertising."
While on the topic of advertising, Mountain Dew is being positioned as an 'energy and exhilaration' drink - a platform common to the brand, internationally. Abroad, Mountain Dew is pitched on 'a rush of adrenaline', and is associated with extreme sports such as BMX biking, rollerblading, skateboarding whitewater rafting and bungee jumping. (For trivia buffs, the brand sponsored the first ever X-Games, back in 1995.) And Mountain Dew ambassadors include Brazilian rollerblader Fabiola Da Silva and American BMX biker Chad Kagy - who, incidentally, are touring India in the course of the brand's launch across the country.
In keeping with Mountain Dew's association with the spirit of adventure, Pepsi has unveiled two television commercials that attempt to capture the brand's spunk and attitude. The first ad ('posers') is about four guys being asked whether they'd visited one or the other of the biggest tourist attractions around the world. The Big Ben, the Sphinx, the South Pole… For instance, the voiceover asks, 'Big Ben dekha?' Shots of the boys bungee jumping off the Big Ben. 'Jump maara,' one of them answers. 'Baja diya baarah,' says another. 'Par boring thaa saara,' a third shrugs. 'Sab kuchh toh kiya, but have you done the dew?' the VO quizzes. The boys haven't, but vouch for the drink as soon as they taste it. For the record, 'Do the Dew' is Mountain Dew's slug since 1993, and stands for an affirmation of having 'been there and done that'.
The second ad ('cheetah') is about this boy on a BMX bike chasing a cheetah somewhere in the African wilds. He catches up, leaps onto the fleeing animal, wrestles it to the ground and reaches deep into its throat… and pulls out a punctured can of Mountain Dew. 'Cheetah bhi peeta hai,' remarks one of the chaps. Push the limits of daring, is the idea. The ads have been created by Pepsi India's local agency, JWT India, and will be "aired in a big way during the World Cup". Interestingly, the four boys were selected on the basis of a nationwide hunt for "four Dew Dudes who personify the Mountain Dew attitude".
Apart from mainstream advertising, Pepsi is also focusing on extensive sampling of the brand. "And it's not just sampling by taste," Mathias interjects. "Our key motivation is not just the taste but the entire experience of exhilaration." He reveals that ground promos would include installations of game concepts such as 'bungee running' and 'Velcro walls' at popular youth hangouts. "All this will drive the buzz," he believes.
He does, however, admit that the real challenge lies in popularizing extreme sports in India. As of now, the concept of extreme sports is limited to Indian metros, that too among the more upwardly mobile sections. And even there, awareness does not necessarily mean appeal. There aren't many 'outdoorsy types' in this country - at least not the kind Mountain Dew has in mind.
But that needn't be a problem, really. Enough Nike and Reebok consumers in this country haven't had a brush with athleticism in a long time. It's the 'sporty image' that matters more. Still, it would help the brand if adventure sports caught on. "We will try and recreate extreme sports situations to the best of our abilities," Mathias promises.
Do the Dew, Pepsi. Â© 2003 agencyfaqs!