Mountain Dew: From hillbillies to hip-hop

Here’s a fascinating read from Business Week about Mountain Dew.

PepsiCo understandably wants to create a thirst for its Mountain Dew brand in a greater market. The sugary drink has roots in the hillbilly culture of the Southeast and moonshine liquor, which was nicknamed Mountain Dew. Now, PepsiCo has enlisted hip-hop artist Lil Wayne and street skateboarder Paul Rodriguez to entice potential customers age 18 to 24 to pop the top on their product.

I won’t go into the whole story here, since you can read it on Business Week’s site, but this is a smart move for several reasons. Why not try to broaden your product’s appeal? The target age audience is increasingly diverse and is often located in urban areas outside the Southeast. Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Fanta have gained market share in that age bracket.

I love Mountain Dew and Sprite both, but in a nod to PepsiCo’s brilliant marketing move, I’ll choose a Mountain Dew the next time I need a refreshing drink, and I’ll think of hillbillies and hip-hop while I do so.


Follow Lego’s lead: build the foundation for growth

Are you working with facts or are you making assumptions? If it’s the former, you are steering your business on the correct bearing, but if it’s the latter, you could be costing your company serious money, as Lego recently learned according to this story in Businessweek.

The creative building blocks have long been associated with boy toys, with Lego having failed to build girl-themed lines several times in the past. But the iconic brand did its homework and assembled a new line, Lego Friends, aimed at girls 5 and up, and started offering the toys at stores this month.

Lego embedded research teams with families across the globe to learn why the toys appealed to children of both sexes, and in the process, the researchers learned a thing or two about assumptions the firm had been making, Businessweek reports. For example, Lego had simplified its building sets to provide immediate gratification in this era of computer games and supposedly short attention spans. However, the research showed that boys placed great importance on such game aspects as scoring, ranking and levels of play to demonstrate their mastery to other kids.

Lego also learned that girls thought its products lacked these aesthetic traits: harmony, with everything in its place, providing order; friendly colors; and a high level of detail. While boys tend to build rapidly to finish a kit according to the box’s design, girls tend to stop during the building and start storytelling and rearranging the design. So, Lego has designed its new line to allow girls to start playing various scenarios without finishing the entire model.

The new line also introduces new colors and girl minifigs that are taller and curvier than the standard minifigs because girls tend to project themselves onto the minifig and need a figure they could identify with.

If your company has been doing business as usual for longer than you can recall, maybe it’s time to think outside the (Lego) box and do some brainstorming. You might learn you’ve been losing out on good opportunities.

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