Their Word For You, Old White Pepsi Guys, Is “Crackah!”

Ed Driscoll » What on Earth was Mountain Dew Thinking?  (video at the link)

Ed has an interesting quote, via James Lileks:

The soda and snack food company said it immediately pulled the 60-second spot after learning that people found it was offensive.

The company didn’t know the ad would offend a lot of people? Who did they think it wouldn’t offend?

Which got me to wondering exactly who they thought their target audience was for this piece of crap. An AdWeek article inadvertently runs the info:

Mountain Dew Fiasco Shows Brands Desperately Want Street Cred | Adweek

It appears obvious that some brands desperately want to tap young urbanites while signing up their edgiest musical heroes, such as Lil’ Wayne, Ross and Tyler, The Creator—who produced Mountain Dew’s spot. But do six-figure-salaried marketers actually know what they are doing while attempting to reach the street? And are these examples once again showing the advertising world’s lack of diversity?

Hmmm. So the ad was targeting young urbanites. That narrows it down, but maybe not enough. Let’s see if we can get a bit more granular:

Mountain Dew has historically done extremely well in Great Plains and Southeastern states with suburban and rural youth but has struggled connecting with the inner-city segment. The brand’s parent, PepsiCo, declined comment after the Mountain Dew fiasco made social-media rounds this afternoon.


“It is possible to get street cred when you really tap into a subculture,” Woodard from Graham Stanley said. “However, it works much better when you don’t alienate other key audiences in the process.”

There you go. “Inner city” is code for black, so this ad was aimed at young inner city blacks. Do you suppose they did any focus group testing before buying tens of millions of dollars of ad time? I’d bet they did, and I’d further bet that their “black inner city urban yoots” in those focus groups ate this crap up with a spoon.

And that says some rather revealing things about the cultural norms of black inner city yoots, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, that presents a somewhat insoluble problem for marketers targeting that demographic, at least in regards to alienating other key audiences. How do you appeal to a violent, stupid, mysogynistic, racist, criminal bunch of thugs without offending decent people?

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


Their Word For You, Old White Pepsi Guys, Is “Crackah!” — 2 Comments

  1. Say it loud

    I'm a crack ah and I'm proud. 


    Well it doesn't have the same ring to it, but it comes from the soul. 


    On the other hand, a demographic that values $200 sneakers and gold bling and AR-15s may be a demographic to shoot for. DP has the gold and the guns thing down. Bill, perhaps you're not positioning yourself, marketing wise, for the big bucks. 


    Daily Mofo Pundit, Bitchez. 


    Perhaps an offshoot blog?

  2. What I find fun about this is the whole "conections" game.

    "Mountain Dew" is a term for moonshine. Around here, they make a lot of moonshine. The 'shiners keep a little of the good stuff (which occassionally finds its way to me) , but the the vast majority of their production is sold to inner city blacks in Richmond. This is the stuff that can and will make you blind and insane if you're crazy enough to drink enough of it. 

    So, for me it's terribly amusing to see "Mountain Dew," the soda, which has deep white redneck roots coming up with an ad campaign aimed at the inner city yoots. There's two things you're guarnteed to find at a four-wheelin' event around here: Empty cans of cheap beer and empty plastic bottles of Mountain Dew, although some of the more sophiticated ones are moving on up to Red Bull and Monster. 

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