Unlike regular people who see a great commercial and laugh, if I see a great commercial I grab my laptop to find out who was behind it and what else they’re planning in the campaign. Last night, as I watched Comedy Central I found many commercials, most of which were either for booze, Girls Gone Wild videos or text messaging ‘love’ connections. One commercial did, however, cause me to run to my laptop to learn more about it.
That golden needle in a haystack was the new commercial from Mountain Dew. The ad begins with a young martial arts hopeful journeying to a remote training facility. The martial art? Handslapping.
This unexpected bit of silliness is offset by the sincerety in the actions of the men learning here. Our hero starts out getting his hand slapped every time, but as it progresses from training scene to training scene, he gets better and towards the end, after working with a crude hand slapping water wheel (must see) he is almost an expert. One of the last scenes in the commercial shows him in a handstand still beating his hand slapping opponent.
To close the commercial, the Master of the training camp, who looks a bit like Mr Miagi in the Karate Kid, sees the young man about to drink his Mountain Dew. He walks over to him and goes for the Mountain Dew. The kid slaps his hand away and still manages to keep the drink perched on his palm. In one of the funniest lines I have seen in a while, the Master says, “That’s fast.” (burp) “But not fast enough.” And then the guy realizes his Mountain Dew is empty.
Mountain Dew has captured the essence of what makes their brand so valuable. They’ve made viewers laugh, but not at stupid mTV-slapstick humor or potty jokes. The message is that you are super cool with Mountain Dew, but you may only be cool at what you want to be cool at (ie handslapping). This appeals to the skater crowd (a large focus of their amazing site), the metal heads, the college students, geeks, gamers and any other niche young crowd who likes being different, but wants to excel in their chosen path. To understand the user fascination that Mountain Dew evokes, look at the almost 1600 photos on Flickr that focus on the soft drink.
I can relate, as can many of us, and if I didn’t hate the taste of Mountain Dew, I’d probably give it another try after this campaign. With ads like this, you almost want to pay Mountain Dew to allow you the privilage of airing it, rather than them paying you to add it to your commercial queue. And, if you are Comedy Central, you really don’t deserve a great commercial like this in your late night lineup.