Mountain Dew To Get a Do-Over

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Mountain Dew To Get a Do-Over

NEW YORK -- Mountain Dew is undergoing an extreme makeover, scrapping its 13-year-old "Do the Dew" theme and dumping its "extreme" positioning, which many now consider tired, according to a Brandweek report.

Frank Cooper, the vice president-marketing appointed to head the PepsiCo brand less than a year ago, is leading the charge, challenging the company's agencies and consultants to come up with a new plan, per sources. Dew's new positioning will be fashioned around "fueling the core." That means "satisfying people's need for excitement or fulfillment in whatever they do," said a Pepsi exec. with knowledge of the matter.

Dew will focus on exhilaration, energy and the enjoyment of finding new passions. "Extreme is no longer extreme," the exec. told Brandweek, noting how many other brands have occupied the niche and taken it mainstream. "We don't know what the answer is. We're waiting for our agencies to come up with something and we're conducting research. We haven't come up with the Holy Grail yet."

The exec said scrapping "Do the Dew," the longest-running campaign in the category, is part of the strategy: "If you change the whole approach, you have to change that. Although we might wink at it," he told the magazine.

A Pepsi rep declined to confirm the move. "We're still looking at all of our options. There's nothing to share yet," the rep said.

In the first indication of the change in strategy, Pepsi will overhaul Dew's MDX next month, Brandweek reported. Because of consumer confusion and slow sales, the brand will no longer be positioned as an energy soda. Rather, it will be marketed as a soft drink that is energy-infused to avoid direct competition with Red Bull. "Be Nocturnal" ads will be axed in favor of ads themed "Stay Sharp," which will quiz TV viewers about details from the shows they are watching.

An agency exec who had previously worked on the Dew brand said it's about time it switched strategy: "Everybody is doing extreme drinks. Kids have new passions. They have to take it to the new phase. They just have to figure out what that is."

Spending for the upcoming campaign was not disclosed. PepsiCo spent $58 million on media for the Dew brand last year and $15 million for the first eight months of 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Diet Dew got $25 million through August.