MEMO MOUNTAIN DEW CASE
TO: Jamal Henderson (Senior Brand Manager)
FROM: Andrea Stutz (Brand Management Team)
DATE: September 21, 2014
RE: Mountain Dew Advertisement Controversy – Findings and Recommendations
Upon PepsiCo’s recent release of its new Mountain Dew advertising campaign in March 2013, the company and brand alike are facing significant backlash. The advertisements feature African-American rapper, Tyler the Creator in a series of three ads. Tyler voices an angry goat named, “Felicia,” who is seen beating on women, running from the police, and violently threatening a woman during a police lineup. A majority of the back lash is stemming from Syracuse University Professor, Dr. Boyce Watkins, and the article she wrote titled “Mountain Dew Releases Arguably the Most Racist Commercial in History.” After the release of this article in April 2013, the article went viral and many started to view the commercials in a negative light. Many stating they found the videos to be highly offensive and a portrayal of violence towards women and racial stereotypes. For PepsiCo the impact from this negative backlash could be dramatic. The brand Mountain Dew accounted for 20 percent of PepsiCo’s beverage sales in 2011 and the company invested 23.6 million dollars on advertising alone for the brand that same year. Mountain Dew has maintained a position as one of the top selling soft soda beverages in the industry for years and PepsiCo cannot afford to lose any of the enormous value the brand holds due to negative publicity.
The public are viewing the advertisements negatively for two main reasons – violence towards women and racial stereotypes. The violence towards women is the first major issue because particularly the first and third commercials in the series. The first commercial portrays a woman not being able to give more Mountain Dew to “Felicia” and then the goat responding by beating her up. The third commercial shows the...
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