Dew gone Commie.
May 1, 2001 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Dew gone Commie. Comrades, just in time for May Day, Mountain Dew launches their new Red Mountain Dew, second in caffeine content only to Jolt.
posted by tamim (30 comments total)
I did so much damage to that virtual world in my pursuit of the caffine high. The virtual game citizens will probably outlaw the soda.
posted by captaincursor at 2:51 PM on May 1, 2001

Far from communism, this is "black-people-like-watermelon"-capitalism at its ugliest. Via allaboutgeorge:

"The desire to penetrate minority markets was so prominent that Pepsi largely chose the drink's flavor in order to do so. At first, the company toyed with the idea of coloring the new soda blue and sticking "arctic" in the name. But conventional wisdom in the soft drink business states that people from minority groups favor sweet, fruity flavors. So, the company's researchers regrouped and came up with Wild Cherry Mountain Dew. The taste was right, but the name was too tame. Enter Code Red."
posted by sudama at 2:51 PM on May 1, 2001

Why is this marketing ugly? I would think that deliberately ignoring a market would be 'uglier' than attempting to cater to it.

I doubt anyone in the beverage industry is reading this, but if anyone is, I wonder if they could tell me if this has anything to do with the "Mountain Dew Red" I was hearing about 10 years ago that never seemed to materialize.

And speaking of soda, can New Coke/Coke II be found anywhere?

What about decaf Dr Pepper?
posted by ljromanoff at 2:58 PM on May 1, 2001

since i can't post to the main page yet. happy may day

posted by elsar at 3:00 PM on May 1, 2001

"My name is sudama, and I see racism in everything"

Heaven forbid a company tailor their product to a specific demographic, god damn them for catering products to a group of people! How dare them, those.... those... capitalists!!!
posted by owillis at 3:01 PM on May 1, 2001

from sudama's reference @ allaboutgeorge:

"With Code Red, Pepsi would like nothing better than a repeat performance. To get it, the company is retooling its marketing techniques to tap the consumer base that it missed the first time: blacks, Hispanics and other minorities."

so, the fact that they're now attempting to target a demographic they "missed the first time" is racist? would you argue that they were racist the first time since they ignored the minority demographic?
posted by fuzzygeek at 3:43 PM on May 1, 2001

ljromanoff: Coke II is the staple cola of Chuuk lagoon in the Federated States of Micronesia. At Truk Trading Company (the major store on the main island), there is a mountain of pallets of Coke II along one side of the building. During my year there, I wondered if they were leftovers from the failed launch, or if Coca-Cola continued to manufacture it (my gut tells me it was the former). Unfortunately, Crystal Pepsi was nowhere to be found.

Code Red - Enabling a new generation of role-players to stay up even later than their predecessors.
posted by OneBallJay at 4:28 PM on May 1, 2001

I miss Crystal Pepsi. Am I the only one? I hate regular Pepsi (Coke all the way!), but Crystal had that certain see-through quality to it...
posted by owillis at 4:40 PM on May 1, 2001

Hey... say what you want about marketing.. it's damn tadty... so is the Red mountain for Beef, and the old 'standard' Mountain Dew for Chicken?
posted by tj at 6:19 PM on May 1, 2001

I think sudama's problem with this one is that the marketeers relied on 'conventional wisdom' in the design process, and (apparently) not focus groups/testing/etc. I can't believe I'm actually defending sudama.
posted by darukaru at 6:38 PM on May 1, 2001

Good call, darukaru. That was the phrase that raised a flag for me.

I don't think I said marketing is ugly, rather capitalism. Of course, I do think marketing is ugly. Especially when it's aimed at a so-called "urban" market, and especially considering that markets these days are as much created and defined by marketers as they are identified (see Merchants of Cool etc.).

In any case, I'm not really that interested in condemning the soft drink industry today. I'd rather talk about the merits of sugar vs. corn syrup in Coca-cola. I'd rather taste sugar in Coke. But make no mistake, Code Red is all about race. Personally, I think Sprite's got the Dew's target market on lock but I guess we'll see. I'm dreading the ad campaign -- maybe then we can take another look at racism.
posted by sudama at 6:57 PM on May 1, 2001

But make no mistake, Code Red is all about race. Personally, I think Sprite's got the Dew's target market on lock but I guess we'll see. I'm dreading the ad campaign -- maybe then we can take another look at racism.

Or maybe you could stop trying to find racism in everything around you. You'd be happier.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:05 PM on May 1, 2001

I'm not unhappy. Please don't assume my politics reflect some kind of pain or guilt over some perceived failing or transgression, and I'll do my best to assume that you're keenly aware of your role in the racial injustice that sickens our world. Deal?

If I were to shut my eyes to racism, that would make some people happy and leave lots of people very unhappy. I'm one of the rare few who are afforded the luxury of choosing to do so, but I'm certainly not going to make that choice.
posted by sudama at 10:48 PM on May 1, 2001

That's the thing though. It's not that hard to see stuff. Not necessarily or just racism, but difference and bias. If you stop seeing (much less "trying to find racism in everything around you), you don't address its causes or contemplate its remedies. You pretend it's not there, and you don't consider solutions to make society more just. sudama's efforts to see society for what it is (and more importantly, how it can be better) make MeFi and his page better places, the same way contributions from aaron, thirteen, owillis, Den Beste and dreama do -- by getting me out of my rut, occasionally raising my blood pressure and making me examine how and what I'm feeling about the world everybody sees fit to link to up in here.

this concludes the testimonial segment of the post

That said, my impression of the NYTimes story on Code Red was based not just on reading about Pepsi's success with marketing Mountain Dew to white/suburban "Dew Dudes" and its desire to market this new soda to urban folks, but on my somewhat cynical feelings about corporations and how they market things in the past.

About halfway down this, there are references to the ways the tobacco industry tried to target women and blacks with specific brands.

That's the mindset that's on my mind. I don't fear doctors because the Tuskegee Experiment happened. But it crosses my mind sometimes. *shrug*
posted by allaboutgeorge at 11:01 PM on May 1, 2001

sudama: Our very own Jiminy Cricket... or Don Quixote?
posted by owillis at 11:03 PM on May 1, 2001

Personally, what stood out for me was the catch-all euphemism "minorities." Rather than "minorities in our age demographic" or "minorities in our income demographic," the usual paintbrush was pulled out, and everyone who wasn't white (or more likely, everyone black and/or Hispanic) was painted with the same stroke.

To me, that's what screams racism and reminds me of kids asking, "But I thought all black people liked fried chicken." If the statement had read "white people favor sweet, fruity flavors", the absurdity of the statement would be plainly visible to all and bullshit would have been called long ago.

I wish I had to try to find racism around me, personally. Most times, it jumps out of nowhere and clocks me on the head. Hard.
posted by sun-el at 11:10 PM on May 1, 2001

As far as the tobacco link goes, marketing to kids is reprehensible. Marketing a perfectly legal product to adult minorities and women is well within their rights. People need to exercise a little self-determination once in a while. The problem with seeing racism in everything is it cheapens the impact of real racism and defeats the entire movement forward...
posted by owillis at 11:14 PM on May 1, 2001

If you're gonna look for racism in society, look in the right place for goodness sake. Anna Deavere Smith kicks some major butt in Twilight: Los Angeles. She reveals a cross-section of racism and how the different cultures and skin colors of society are alike and different. Regardless of her own skintone, she portrays a wide array of personas in the maelstrom of the L.A. Riots, painting a provacative and revealing series of images. She brings dimension to an issue that is usually so painfully left to mere stereotypes and flat dynamics. If you're looking for racism, see it for what it is, and for what it is not.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:52 PM on May 1, 2001

Relying on "conventional wisdom" rather than Testing and Focus groups strikes me as being both fairly unusual and possibly a risky business decision, regardless of the outcome of this launch.

I don't dispute the fact that Sudema studies racism and its effects. But statements such as:

"My name is sudama, and I see racism in everything"

Is just incredibly unfair (not to mention, over time, incredibly boring) Let Sudema's actions and comment (well reasoned and insightful, imho) reflect on him. Allow your actions and comments to reflect on your own self. Owillis people (new and old users) are quite capable of making up their own minds about people. You don't have to do a running commentary all the time.
posted by lucien at 12:30 AM on May 2, 2001

Crystal Pepsi was good stuff..... too bad you can't get it anymore.

Coke II is still produced, mainly for minority markets. They sell alot of CokeII on the south side of Chicago. So PepsiCo is not the only company catering to minority tastes.
posted by Maxor at 4:53 AM on May 2, 2001

There's a fine line between discovering that something is racist, and the potential evils of marketing. I think sudama is walking that line, myself.

This whole product is targeted towards a target market. While the umbrella term "minorities" is a misnomer nowadays, it's totally normal in marketing lingo. Minorities are the (ahem) hot new market to target. Marketeers are realizing that, yes, people other than WASPs have money to spend and they're going to go after every single solitary penny.

Now, since PepsiCo is targeting this product at a market that doesn't include WASPs, is that "racist"? I really don't think so. Think about the other products out there that target the so-called minorities; is anything that doesn't try to exploit the WASP market but instead exploits minorities to be deemed racist?

Now, for me, it would be deemed racist if the ad campaign behind this product played into any stereotypes about said minorities. At this point, it's simply a targeted product - although I can see where sudama's points are, and they are solid ones, if misplaced (for now). As sun-el points out, the idea that minorities like one flavor is potentially damning; it's also a great label to use for marketing. So the line stands; in a marketing journal a statement like that wouldn't cause double takes. Out of context, in reality, it does.

All white people like the Gap, by the way. And luxury SUVs, and the suburbs, and Abercrombie.

Let's face it: the advertising component of marketing has the potential to do a hell of a lot of damage, and alienate or insult people. If PepsiCo falls into that trap, the product will fail.

Also: I really liked Crystal Pepsi, too. It wasn't just clear Pepsi; it was an entirely other flavor and balance, and for me it was far greater than regular Pepsi.
posted by hijinx at 6:36 AM on May 2, 2001

Because, as we all know, advertising never reveals bigotry.

For what it's worth, Sudama, according to this press release, Pepsi tested the concept, if not the product, on "teens."
posted by snarkout at 8:31 AM on May 2, 2001

What about 7-Up Gold? 7-Up crossed with Ginger Ale, and a splash of caffiene added for good measure. That was the one I was truly sad to see go. The only nice thing about its failure was that the $0.99 store had two 2L bottles for 99 cents for some time afterwards.
posted by OneBallJay at 8:47 AM on May 2, 2001

Wow, you have a $0.99 store?

All I've got around here are these crappy $1.00 stores.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:48 AM on May 2, 2001

I think John Johnson should be prosecuted for his heinous techniques of marketing only to minorities. What a racist he is!
posted by dhartung at 8:58 AM on May 2, 2001

Crystal Pepsi was disgusting. Probably the most awful taste I have ever had in my mouth.
posted by kindall at 9:02 AM on May 2, 2001

sonofsamiam - inflation really is a bitch, isn't it?

(7-Up Gold came out nearly 10 years ago, IIRC)
posted by OneBallJay at 9:03 AM on May 2, 2001

I loved Saturday Night Live's take on the Crystal craze in the early 90's. Not only was there Crystal Pepsi and Crystal gasoline, SNL came up with Crystal gravy. Very appealing!
posted by keli at 9:17 AM on May 2, 2001

I don't want to raise anyone's blood pressure, I just want everyone to agree with me, and love me as I love myself.

I also think nearly everyone likes sweet, fruity flavors. I'll stick with the Diet Coke though.
posted by thirteen at 9:34 AM on May 2, 2001

posted by ZachsMind at 12:42 AM on May 10, 2001

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