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Mountain Dew’s social media flavour contest debuts in Canada

A look at how the soda brand's contest on Facebook engages both consumers and retailers

Have you been to Mountain Dew Canada’s Facebook page lately?

If not, the image (at right) is their cover photo highlighting their Canadian DEWmocracy campaign.  In short, DEWmocracy is Mountain Dew’s social media campaign that leverages their fan base to help choose a new flavour to complement their current assortment. The fans and other engaged consumers vote to decide the fate of the four pre-determined flavours.

These four alternatives are: Code Red, White Out, Voltage, and Super Nova.  The winning flavour becomes a limited time or a regular offering depending on feedback and sales.

While product launch campaigns of this type have usually ended miserably, Mountain Dew product launches have traditionally performed well.  The DEWmocracy campaigns have been done before south of the border – twice – and both have ended successfully with a new popular flavour hitting store shelves.  Whether it has become a mainstay flavour or a limited time offering, it has succeeded in creating excitement for the beverage brand among consumers.

But that was the U.S., and this is Canada.  Will it meet the American success levels, or will it fall short of expectations?

A consumer uploaded image from the Mountain Dew Canada facebook page.

The Canadian DEWmocracy campaign is decidedly different from the American version, and therefore will translate very different results.  However, the fact that it has history to leverage and examples of best-in-class marketing execution should definitely bolster its chances of success.

Mountain Dew wins here because some of these flavours were part of the American DEWmocracy (ie. Super Nova and Voltage) that were previously voted on, and even a past winner (Voltage won the first DEWmocracy).  That said, there is a certain level of expected success for these flavours for the Canadian DEWmocracy contest.

What helps is that there already exists strong social engagement on Facebook and Twitter backing some of these existing flavours, so there promises to be even stronger engagement as the contest progresses.

The end result is a lower percentage of product launch failure.  This would likely represent one of the safest product launches in recent history, since whatever flavour wins DEWmocracy will experience its steady flow of sales from its voters, while also capturing some of the other voters’ dollars in the process.

Retailers that stock these flavours will see a measurable level of success as well.  Given the media support that Mountain Dew puts behind this product introduction and the existing interest among Dew drinkers, the retailer can also expect to see stronger sales than other product introductions.

Consumers definitely win here because they put their money where their votes are.  The winning product will be the most preferred Mountain Dew line extension among the Canadian Dew drinkers.

Some cult followers may even breathe a sigh of relief since they no longer have to drive across the border to purchase this extension (if it’s also the winning flavour that won the American Dewmocracies).

Using social engagement efforts to drive a product launch can be a hit or miss, more often misses.

The misses have been chronicled and Mountain Dew was one of these misses as well from their “Dub the Dew” campaign.  However, Mountain Dew’s DEWmocracy has been successful the last two times so there is no reason to believe that it won’t be seeing some level of success when it explores launching a line extension in Canada.

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