Let’s end the week with some Foodie Friday Fun on beverages.
You might have seen an announcement that Mountain Dew was adding another product. They added something called Johnson City Gold, which is a malt-flavored addition (Olde English for the younger set?) to the line. However, according to Food Business News the Johnson City Gold product name may be short-lived. As part of the test market introduction, the company is running a contest to establish a new brand name. Sound familiar?
It should. There was another contest recently called “Dub The Dew” which elicited such fine names for a new green apple-flavored soda as “Diabeetus,” “Gushing Granny,” and “Moist Nugget.” This is what can go very wrong in these days of a marketing department of millions. A noted hacker group hijacked the contest (with pretty hilarious results) and Pepsi, to their credit, admitted in a tweet that “Dub the Dew definitely lost to The Internet“. Ya think?
I admire the Pepsi folks for letting their customer at Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen (the local guys who actually ran the contest) give it a try. I’m also a big fan of a well-executed practical joke. This wasn’t the first time an internet-based naming program had gone terribly wrong. It probably won’t be the last. There’s a lot of good sentiment in wanting to listen to your customers, but remember that your customers in this case are a younger demographic, just the sort that thinks the creation of a new internet meme is way better than the creation of a new brand.
Maybe the promotion succeeded – after all, I’m writing about it as have many others. Is any PR good PR? Maybe so in this case – it’s all pretty harmless fun. But it might be neither fun nor harmless the next time, and thinking about that balance between welcoming the crowd into the conversation and controlling the message is an important part of marketing these days.