Client Referrals

Mountain Dew Has a Lot in 'Store' at DG

'Dew General Store' rewards program leverages sponsorships and more

By Samantha Nelson
Path to Purchase Institute
Shopper Marketing
Vol.26, No. 5 - May 2013

Purchase, N.Y - PepsiCo's Mountain Dew and Dollar General have greatly expanded their collaborative "Dew General Store" marketing program, stretching what started as a four-week effort into a 10-month-long rewards program. Dew General Store launched in 2011 as a limited time rewards program, and the partners used the theme again in 2012 for a NASCAR-focused sweepstakes.

This year, shoppers who buy Mountain Dew at Dollar General from Feb 27 through Nov. 30 receive codes printed on store receipts that they can enter on a promotional website. The points they receive can be used to buy a variety of merchandise that will change during the three phases of the campaign.

Shopper marketing insights drove the program's evolution and expansion, according to Kelly Mattran, PepsiCo shopper marketing manager. "We know Dollar General shoppers way over-index for Mountain Dew," she says. "They just line up really, really well. It makes a lot of sense that we would look at Mountain Dew as a key brand to activate within Dollar General. Mountain Dew is our No. 1 brand in Dollar General."

Dollar General vice president of marketing Dave Stewart says the demographics for Mountain Dew consumers and Dollar General shoppers are similar. "Dollar General is one of the top three retailers of Pepsi's total Mountain Dew sales, proving DG shoppers are very loyal to their drink of choice," he says. "So, the Dew General Store was conceptualized as a fun and interactive way to maximize customer loyalty and further promote synergy between the two brands."

The program's spring phase focused on Diet Mountain Dew and activated the brand's official sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports' No. 88 car. (NASCAR indexes very highly with Dollar General shoppers, Mattran says.) The website offered racing gear along with branded merchandise such as T-shirts, hats and bags.

In-store promotion stopped in April but will pick up again in July and August with a summer theme and seasonal prizes such as sunglasses and coolers.

Then, country music singer Brantly Gilbert will be the face of the campaign from September through November. (Country music also over-indexes with Dollar General shoppers.) During that final phase, Mountain Dew will also tap celebrity representatives such as hip-hop artist Lil Wayne and skateboarder Paul Rodriguez , offering related prizes.

"It's really a collaborative effort between us and Dollar General," says Mattran, who works alongside Dollar General senior marketing manager Josh Williams and senior buyer for carbonated soft drinks Jimmy Stegall. "We're getting unprecedented support. They've been instrumental in building this with us. You don't get that all the time with retailers. I think they see the importance of this program for their business, and that sort of opened it up for us. All the way around, it's just mutually beneficial."

The goal of the campaign is to increase the store's share of wallet for Mountain Dew shopping occasions. "Mountain Dew is a brand with tremendous brand loyalty," DG's Stewart says. "People who drink Mountain Dew are passionate about it, and we wanted to leverage that loyalty in a way that drives more customers to Dollar General for their Mountain Dew purchases."

Dollar General's Point-of-sale data will be used to track share of wallet movement and sales during the campaign. The length of the program will help Mountain Dew gather additional data on digital engagement, Mattran says. Stewart says they'll also judge the program's success based on sales lift and the number of points redeemed on the campaign website.

In executing the program, PepsiCo worked with Wilton, Conn.-based creative agency TracyLocke; Edina, Minn.-based Young America Corp., which handles the store fulfillment and website; Stamford, Conn.-based Lapine, which provides the branded merchandise; and Millersburg, Ohio-based Advertising by Design, which printed the first-run P-O-P materials.

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