Wednesday, January 11

Making a Mountain Out of a Mouse

Now I know that we are in an age where "spin" is not "in."  Consumers are constantly telling brands that they want "authenticity" and the "truth."  Consumer trust is at an all time sustained low, so marketers need to be completely transparent if they are going to win consumer affection.

I guess that's the sentiment that drove Mountain Dew's response to this particular consumer complaint.

I'm sure you remember soaking teeth in cola in science class in grade school, right?  Well this certainly smacks of that!  Evidently a consumer contacted Mountain Dew to say that he had found a mouse in his can of soda.  Mountain Dew responded that it would be impossible to find a mouse in a can of soda because in fact the soda would de-compose the body ... turning it into a jelly-like substance.  The mouse simply wouldn't make it through being immersed in the formula for what is apparently 15 months.  Yuck.

The case is currently in court, and the makers of Mountain Dew are claiming that the claim has to be false,  which I guess only Mountain Dew can confirm based on the science.  It's turned into a big "thing" as the story (now urban legend status) runs through social media.  You can read an article here.

Seems like the brand may win the case but will it win consumer reaction to the facts presented?

Ouch.  I guess it's an honest answer, but not exactly making it seem like soda is so good for you.  But then again we know that.  I was just expecting a little spin, that's all.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU


  1. In this case, the accusation is so horrific, that the brand has no choice but to do everything possible to disclaim it, even if that means saying their soda would have that effect on a dead mouse. I'm not seeing another alternative here...

  2. I have the answer. New ad campaign of talking mice. They dive into the open soda can from a high distance. "Mountain Dew-so good you will be dying for it"

    It might need tweaking?

  3. Too good, actually. LOL. And you are right, Ric, they prob had no other choice. Thanks all! Jim.

  4. This reminds me of the syringe in a Pepsi can in 1993. The scare, in part fueled by a fear of AIDS, led to FDA chief Kessler advising people to pour the soda into a glass. The person who made that claim (and several copycats) we're prosecuted. Pepsi turned to broadcast media outreach to educate the public with incredibly successful VNRs and SMTs.
    I don't think Mountain Dew will go there, but fear what YouTube nation may serve up. :)

  5. I totally forgot about that! They handled it well, ala Tylenol back in the day. Jim.