As part of their summer marketing campaign called DEWmocracy, which we've explored extensively here on BevReview.com, PepsiCo has released the first of 3 "finalists" to be the next Mountain Dew flavor: Mountain Dew Supernova, Mountain Dew Voltage, and Mountain Dew Revolution. Let's take a look at Mountain Dew Supernova!
This flavor is described on the packaging as "Dew with a blast of Strawberry Melon Flavor and Ginseng". Alrighty, then! The beverage color itself is of the pinkish/purplish variety, but not as dark as something like 2004's Mountain Dew Pitch Black.
The label sports the traditional Mountain Dew logo, augmented by a pink/black color scheme, heavy on the black overtones. Think the design style of the recent Amp Energy flavors, specifically Amp Energy Traction.
It's specifically noted that this flavor is "Dew Drinker Designed", which is a reference to the DEWmocracy campaign.
To summarize for those who are to lazy to click a link, in Fall 2007 PepsiCo rolled out a "design your own Dew" initiative, but did it through online gaming and a social media-oriented storyline.
The result was out of all these combinations, 3 flavors rose to the top, to be featured during the summer of 2008 and voted on by fans. The winning vote getter would be the new Dew.
Encouraging promotion of your favorite flavor is done through campaign tools… graphical banners that can be placed on MySpace, Facebook, e-mail templates, or blogs, each with a distinct tracking code. That way, everyone who is registered as part of the DEWmocracy site can have metrics assigned to their participation. I'm not exactly sure how the "vote" will take place, but I would imagine that it has to do with these tools.
But let's move beyond the marketing behind this product… which is ironic, because I think the whole reason it exists is marketing. It's a manufactured device designed to create buzz and brand loyalty, because it sure wasn't designed to taste very good. Mountain Dew Supernova tastes like a syrupy, fake-flavor strawberry soda, similar in execution to Fanta Strawberry, Tropicana Twister Strawberry, and Strawberry Crush. Despite the claim that it has a "strawberry melon" flavor, I really didn't detect a melon influence at all.
The official DEWmocracy website makes some interesting flavor claims as it hypes up this drink:
When flavor goes supernova all you can do is "Brace for the Blast." Prepare yourself for Strawberry Melon Lime with a Ginseng tremor that'll knock your taste buds into the next dimension. This exciting new taste is here, so get a serious grip and launch yourself into the fray with our campaign tools. Mountain Dew® Supernova™ is the one.
Again, I didn't taste any melon nor did I detect the lime. It's just a lame soft drink that hardly has anything in common with Mountain Dew. I'd put it in the class of LiveWire.
Of course, if PepsiCo just released this drink on its own, it would probably fail. Thus it had to put a little extra "pop" into it by pulling the ole "it's a soda/it's an energy drink" scam that Coke has been been doing with Vault. In this case, the promotional materials behind Mountain Dew Supernova make note that it contains ginseng. This approach hearkens back to what they pulled off for Mountain Dew Game Fuel, which while it tasted bad, had a heck of a lot of caffeine in the bottle!
What's the nutritional/supplement breakdown on Mountain Dew Supernova? Let's start with caffeine. The original flavor of Mountain Dew features 4.5 mg/oz. of caffeine. Competitor Vault has a higher level at 5.83 mg/oz. Mountain Dew Game Fuel topped both of those at 6.0 mg/oz. Meanwhile, the new flavor of Supernova has 4.55 mg/oz., just a fraction over the original flavor. While I'm sure that the addition of ginsing gives it a little more of an artificial "pick me up", I don't think it's enough to really push Mountain Dew Supernova over the edge as a drink that will succeed. The flavor is just too "adequate" to really make a difference.
An entire 20 oz. bottle of Supernova will cost you 290 calories, 105 mg of sodium, and 76 g of sugars (though the Nutrition Facts claim that there are 2.5 servings per bottle… I'm sure that will be totally honored by those who drink it!)
A full ingredient list is as follows:
Mountain Dew Supernova
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavor, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), caffeine, sodium citrate, gum arabic, calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor), brominated vegetable oil, panax ginseng root extract, Red 40, Blue 1
Overall, my take is that Mountain Dew Supernova is a dud. It doesn't provide anything new or innovative to the beverage market, and frankly, is just riding on the brand awareness of the Mountain Dew brand. The flavor is lackluster, it's "keep me awake" merits are weak, and frankly, the purple/pink color doesn't have enough "edge" to really fit the Dew demographic.
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