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:
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?