Craft Soda: What DEW Consumers Think?

This week Mountain Dew released DEWShine, its “craft soda” offering. The company stated the product is a tribute to its “backwoods Tennessee roots,”.

In light of this, we decided to take DEWShine to consumers to understand the interest of this new product and the idea of “craft soda”.

Q115-Blog-MtnDew-PackageImage-032615 Research Objectives:

  1. Understand consumer expectations for a “craft soda.”
  2. Explore reactions to the DEWShine concept and packaging, understanding overall likes, fit with brand, questions or concerns, and expected audience.

What’s Craft Got to Do with It?

We found that consumers see the largest point of contention in the soda giants’ use of the term “craft.”

Given the idea of craft soda, many consumers see it as specialized, with high quality ingredients, small batch and local production, and more adventurous and creative flavors and marketing. Several felt that craft soda should be the more premium, fancier, locally-raised cousin to mass produced offerings from Coca-Cola or Pepsi Co.

IRG Respondent

I would think that craft soda means soda made in smaller batches. I expect it to taste better and maybe even have more interesting flavors.

Female, 28, IL
IRG Respondent

I think of this like craft beers. Making a more sophisticated taste and bolder flavor soda, maybe even gourmet flavors that are unique to the soda brand.

Male, 41, PA

When Packaging Goes Right

Largely, the packaging and concept for DEWShine were a hit — respondents loved the retro feel, use of Willy the Hillbilly, the throwback to Tennessee, and the wink at its illicit, alcoholic roots.

IRG Respondent

I really like the name DewShine. The packaging itself makes it look retro and premium.

Male, 43, AZ
IRG Respondent

I love the logo…The color of the box is great and has a vintage vibe to it. I love the mascot on the box and the statement “It’ll tickle your innards” is just great.

Male, 41, PA

This dissonance between the connotations associated with craft soda and the corporate, high-energy, youthful image of Mountain Dew tended to create a minor barrier to purchase interest. While use of “real sugar” is a high point in marketing communications, respondents wondered how the taste would be differentiated from the traditional Mountain Dew offering, or if the product would be too sweet.

What Can Mountain Dew…Do?

In further iterations and strategy, Mountain Dew can educate consumers on its “backwoods Tennessee” roots, using packaging as an opportunity to position itself as a historically unique formula and small batch operation from the mountains. In addition, many respondents liked the Willy Hillbilly character but did not mention his history as the company mascot.

Giving consumers an understanding of Mountain Dew’s unique “original” formula may also further pique curiosity and differentiate DEWShine in a market with many citrus soda offerings. These small, personal details may help the brand gain credibility in the craft market, rather than seem like a corporate giant attempting to cash-in on the craft trend.

Having the ability to do quick reads on new concepts, packaging or messaging can be the difference between a successful product launch and one that doesn’t make the mark.  What this GutCheck quick read demonstrates is that Mountain Dew has a great concept on their hands and now has an opportunity to educate consumers on certain background information to take it to the next level.  And because of how fast a study like this can be done and the affordability of the research, any brand can now check in with their consumers!

If you want to read the full report, you can download it now!

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