There are three Mountain Dew flavors being released this summer — Mountain Dew Supernova, Mountain Dew Revolution, and Mountain Dew Voltage — all part of a marketing initiative called DEWmocracy, a pseudo-election "vote for the new Dew"-type promotion. It's time to take a look at the blue-hued Mountain Dew Voltage and how it stacks up!
The color of this drink can only be described as "nuclear blue"… kinda like the blue dye you use when you are coloring Easter eggs. What, did Pepsi hook up with PAAS or something? The label denotes the flavor of Mountain Dew Voltage as "Dew charged with Raspberry Citrus Flavor and Ginseng". I'd say it looks a little lighter than 2002's Pepsi Blue or Amp Energy Elevate.
Like the other flavors that are part of the "DEWmocracy 3", the bottle sports a prominently black label, augmented by a Mountain Dew logo sitting on top of a rich blue/black color scheme (much like the Amp Energy Elevate can). The "Voltage" logo is a rhombus shape, similar to a diamond standing on its points. It's quite bold and appealing, in my opinion.
It's specifically noted that this flavor is "Dew Drinker Designed", which is a reference to the DEWmocracy campaign.
In Fall 2007, PepsiCo rolled out a "design your own Dew" initiative via 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 enough about the marketing background. Let's talk taste! Mountain Dew Voltage is a berry-flavored Dew, inspired-but-not-exactly-like Pepsi Blue. It has a sweet aftertaste, which is probably where the citrus underpinnings are found. I found much similarity in taste to Amp Energy Elevate, with the "raspberry" flavor somewhat like Pepsi Summer Mix, granted without the colaness. Overall, it's not an awesome Dew, but it's a decent Dew. I found it far superior to Mountain Dew Supernova.
The official DEWmocracy website describes this beverage as follows:
You don't just taste the intensity, you practically feel it. In our world, voltage measures a charge of Raspberry Citrus with a closing burst of Ginseng, all blended to "Shock Your Senses." And after you've pulled yourself together, put that energy into our campaign tools and spread the word. That shock you felt up and down your spine? Mountain Dew® Voltage™.
I have to admire the copywriters… they know how to make this seem like a big deal.
If Mountain Dew Voltage were released on its own, it might have a chance of surviving. However, as a berry-flavored drink, it's just not that amazing, especially when compared to some of the previous Dew entries, such at Mountain Dew Pitch Black and Mountain Dew Baja Blast. Both of those flavors are/were far superior than what Voltage brings to the table, ginseng or not.
Let's take a look at what's inside Mountain Dew Voltage, shall we? It contains 4.55 mg/oz. of caffeine, which when aligned with original Mountain Dew at 4.5 mg/oz., is basically the same. For comparison, Coke's Vault has 5.83 mg/oz., while the limited-time Mountain Dew Game Fuel came in at 6.0 mg/oz. Ginseng should add an extra punch, but basically, it's a standard caffeine-based Dew with a non-outstanding flavor.
One 20 oz. bottle of Voltage is packed with 290 calories, 105 mg of sodium, and 76 g of sugars. It breaks down to 2.5 servings of 8 oz. per bottle.
A full ingredient list is as follows:
Mountain Dew Voltage
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavor, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), caffeine, sodium citrate, gum arabic, calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor), brominated vegetable oil, panax ginseng root extract, Blue 1, Red 40
To recap, Mountain Dew Voltage is a decent-flavored berry Dew. Not horrible. Not amazing. It's chemical makeup is pretty much the same as the other "DEWmocracy 3", meaning that it's nothing more than a drink built on cookie-cutter promotion, not by market demand.