Mountain Dew, the carbonated beverage owned by PepsiCo, used tailored marketing efforts and a high-profile event in Colorado as it sought to drive engagement and sales in an important geographical region for the brand.

Amy Spiridakis, VP/Marketing and Insights, PepsiCo Beverages North America, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 Brand Activation Conference.

The brand, she reported has witnessed “softening trends with heavy buyers” in the Mountain states – a region including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming – and wanted to tackle this problem.

“We spent time with local Dew consumers to understand what drives them. We want members of our team to have one-on-one conversations,” said Spiridakis. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Mountain Dew reversed sales and purchase declines in the mountains of Colorado.)

One early conclusion: “They pine for being active and outside,” Spiridakis said. “And that was an all-year thing, not just a warmer, nicer weather [interest].”

In response, “We spent a ton of time localizing our message ... We literally copy-tested different out-of-home and in-store messaging,” she continued.

So the notices that people received in Phoenix were distinct from the messaging in Montana. “We made sure that we had relevant messaging to talk to those consumers,” said Spiridakis.

“We partnered not only with our retailers, but also with the food-service providers in hotels and restaurants. We laddered everything toward Mountain Dew’s new ‘Dew Nation’ loyalty platform.”

And, with that in-market research of a potentially enthusiastic customer base came an actionable insight: “Specifically in that Mountain region, we were hearing their anxious anticipation of that first snowfall of the year.”

As such, PepsiCo decided to throw a party at Breckenridge Ski Resort at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range – a location renowned for its ski resort, year-round alpine activities, and Gold Rush history.

A couple of snowboarding legends signed up to attend, with various musicians also performing, and attractions like a virtual-reality experience being installed.

According to Spiridakis, “It all was inspired by our conversations with Colorado people” who would start asking, early in the fall, “When is it going to snow?”

It can be “hard to measure the return on brand equity of any one event”, she acknowledged. “But when we look back at the second half of last year, our Mountain region actually had its best ‘single-serve’ result.”

Sourced from WARC