Mountain Dew, a golden fizz aimed at that hard-to-reach 18-to-24-year-old male, is trying to expand its jittery reach. The popular formula’s appeal, besides loose linkages to gnarly shredding on some kind of board (skate, snow or surf), derives largely from two core ingredients: a 12-ounce can of regulation Dew contains 54 mg of caffeine and 46 grams of sugar, which makes Coke look like a sedative. (Mountain Dew Game Fuel has 120 mg of caffeine and its Kick Start 92mg, in case a teenager is feeling particularly sluggish.) PepsiCo, which owns Mountain Dew and recommends paring one with Doritos for max flow, has just announced a deal with Complex Media (the high-traffic hip-hop/skater/wet-dream aspirational content operation) to relaunch its Green Label platform.
Green Label is Mountain Dew’s effort to ingratiate its brand with indie youth culture by promoting semi-rebellious art and music. Greg Lyons, Vice President of Marketing for Mountain Dew explains that “when our legacy Green Label programs were created, we were among the first to give promising musicians and artists an opportunity to express themselves.” This incredible claim would surprise such patrons of the arts as Pope Julius II, who supported Michelangelo’s little Sistine Chapel mash-up back in the day, and Lorenzo de Medici, the 15th century Florentine whom Machiavelli called “the greatest patron of literature and art…that has ever been.” Not to mention the people who signed Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill, or Beck. Yet in a stroke of marketing brilliance, Mountain Dew’s proclaimed “deep understanding of youth culture” now includes adopting a history-free, adolescent solipsism.