Cannes Lions

Mountain Dew Purple Thunder Launch at Circle K

PEPSICO, New York / MOUNTAIN DEW / 2023

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Overview

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Overview

Background

The convenience & gas channel has been slower to recover post-COVID. With increasing competitive threats from large retailers and a lack of differentiation between players in the channel, it can be hard to stand out.

We saw the exclusive launch of MTN DEW Purple Thunder as an opportunity to drive traffic to the channel and return to positive growth. Using proprietary data solutions to PepsiCo to guide the development and the launch of MTN DEW Purple Thunder, a record-breaking innovation was created.

From studying market trends to analyzing user pathways, we left no stone unturned in the journey to share MTN DEW’s new offering. Focusing on a consumer-centric approach, we were confident that the trusted name of Circle K, second largest convenience & gas chain in the US, made the consummate partner to carry the product exclusively.

Idea

From perfecting the flavor, to finding the right audience, and then launching the new product in a way which would make Dew nation (MTN DEW fans) proud - we needed to nail it..

We knew we had to get deep in the data, and an intensive strategy was to be engineered to ensure we got the right product in the hands of the right people in the right way. Partnering and working closely with the Circle K team on both the rigorous product development research and PR strategy phases was going to be crucial in launching something truly special.

We wanted exclusivity to be at the core of our creative process. Working with Circle K as the only convenient store distributor allowed us to emanate the idea of people getting the inside scoop when they got their hands on a MTN DEW Purple Thunder.

Strategy

The initial step was to leverage insight into preferred tasting notes. By analyzing the most popular fruit flavors in carbonated soft drinks leveraging IRI soft drinks flavor sales MULO-C and a proprietary MTN DEW flavor optimization report, we arrived at two flavor alternatives and put them into a consumer HUT study, focused on consumers 18–35 who drink MTN DEW 4+ times a week and are concept / flavor acceptors. Mixed Berry came out on top!

Consumer DNA, PepsiCo’s proprietary 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data comprised of 110 million households in the United States, was used to identify the target audience and show us the people MTN DEW Purple Thunder could help turn into loyal members of Dew Nation. We then targeted all external media to key activation audiences: MTN DEW buyers inclusive of Heartland Families, Active Flavor Flavor Seeking Males & Compassionate Country Ladies (36 Million Households total).

Execution

Now we had the product just right, we needed to launch MTN DEW Purple Thunder with a bang!

To ensure messaging would resonate with consumers, we tested social media creatives through AI-powered tools. In addition, knowing we wanted to hyper-localize initial content, we sought out creators who had an extensive following in places where Circle K stores exist.

In the final stage of influencer planning, we narrowed down our pool of influencers to those who embody MTN DEW values and whose audiences would resonate with our messaging.

Then it all came together with engaging and dominant in-store execution proving a huge hit with Circle K consumers and respective Dew nation fanbase, resulting in widespread customer support via in-store space as well as marketing investments. The in-store execution delivered on the hype surrounding the launch whilst also being in sync with the original partnership objectives.

Outcome

Through exceptional collaboration between teams, Circle K is now the fastest growing MTN DEW convenience & gas account in the US – by 6x! This was achieved by differentiating the new flavor and capturing the attention of consumers in a highly competitive market.

The campaign sold +$11 million 20oz bottles and dispensed 5.3 million fountain cups of MTN DEW Purple Thunder, making it the number one liquid refreshment growth beverage at Circle K.

The robust PR media plan generated over 2.8 million pieces of social media coverage and more than 1.1 billion impressions (2x industry benchmark).

MTN DEW Purple Thunder was even featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

The core results speak for themselves, with MTN DEW gaining 2.8 share points and grew in dollar sales by 25%.

In conclusion, the team's consumer-centric approach, combined with innovative data capabilities and a performance mindset, resulted in an outstanding launch that achieved exceptional results.

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