One of the lead stories in this week’s Adage magazine is about a new marketing effort by Coca-Cola to try and get consumers of Mountain Dew to switch to the Coca-Cola produced Vault.  The crux behind this new effort is an unusual coupon giveaway that I’m a little skeptical of in terms of potential effectiveness.


Here’s the deal: Coke is launching a new promotion called “Don’t Dew It” which will try and convince Mountain Dew fans to switch to Vault.  As Adage notes, Vault is currently getting destroyed in the citrus soda market:

According to Beverage Digest, juggernaut Mtn Dew commands more than an 80% share of the citrus segment, while Vault holds about 4%.

Coke will be distributing coupons for their “Vault Taste Challenge.”  The coupon will offer consumers a free Vault with the purchase of a 20-oz Mountain Dew.  So here is my fundamental problem with the campaign: Coke is REQUIRING that everyone using one of their coupons pay full retail price for one of their competitors products. Does that make sense?

Yes, in this economy people will likely utilize coupons for a free product. But giving away a free Vault costs Coke the same amount of money whether they attach it to the purchase of a Mountain Dew or not. Why wouldn’t Coke simply give out coupons for 1 free bottle of Vault without the Mountain Dew purchase stipulation? How many people who wouldn’t otherwise buy a Mountain Dew will now be forced to do so in order to get a free Vault? Coke’s promotion may have the unintended effect of boosting sales of Moutain Dew in the short-term.

Adage reports that the cost of the promotion for Coke is expected to be “in the millions.”  That means a few million people who might not necessarily buy a Mountain Dew will be doing so in order to get a free Vault.  Coke, however, seems confident that a side-by-side taste comparison will ultimately lead to consumers switching over to Vault:

“Simply put, it’s designed to drive Vault consideration and recruitment among Dew drinkers,” said Scott Williamson, a Coca-Cola spokesman. “We believe that when Dew consumers are offered the opportunity that they’ll like Vault better.”

That’s a lot of confidence in the taste of Vault being expressed by Coke. My question, have these executives tasted Vault and Moutain Dew side-by-side before? If they had, I’m thinking they wouldn’t be quite so eager to launch this campaign. Mountain Dew’s taste is superior to Vault’s, plain and simple.

An interesting promotion idea by Vault, although I certainly think the concept is a bit flawed.  However, I’ll be curious to see sales figures once this promotion is over. Since every free Vault will be accompanied by a purchase of a Mountain Dew, and I’m skeptical any loyal Dew drinkers will switch to Vault, my prediction is that we’ll see zero change in Vault’s market share compared to Mountain Dew’s by the end of this year.

18 Responses

  1. shatraw

    well, you have to think about this from coke’s perspective. it’s not like they can make their market share worse. i mean, technically, maybe a fraction of a percent. but what’s that matter when you’re losing 80 to 4?

    also, i demand that word “citrus” be dropped from this genre of sodas, as no flavor anywhere near and orange or a lemon is detectable. henceforth, they shall be known as the “toxic-waste-green sodas.”

  2. Skiff

    Mtn Dew is the greatest soda of all time. Also, the only beverage (beer or soda) that tastes better out of an aluminum can.

    Shatraw – how dare you. HOW. DARE. YOU.

  3. Brett

    By far I vote for Vault over M. Dew. Though the Dew may be delicious, it contains “bromated vegetable oil” which is made of soy, which I am allergic to. And why does a soda need vegetable oil?!

  4. Cary

    To be honest, Mountain Dew is “it” in terms of over-caffeinated stomach mangling soda. Why is Coke even trying? Also, the name Vault does not conjure up the same awesome imagery that Mountain does.

    Vault? It makes me think of money or corpses. So good job with that, Coke marketing team!

  5. Steve

    “And why does a soda need vegetable oil?!”

    I’m going to take a wild guess and say it has to do with texture and “mouth feel”.

  6. RD

    Not going to lie, I was a Dew addict for nearly 6 years. Last year, it became so bad I ended up forcing myself to not drink a single Dew for one year. The result? I ended up switching to Vault (not the intended result, but I did lower my general soda intake substantially by switching to 2-3 cans a day from 7-9 cans/day)

    Though after yearlong Dew break, I didn’t find myself desiring it in the slightest. When I go to the store now, I just get whatever is cheapest and appeals the most at the time: Pepsi, Coke, Vault, and Dew.

  7. Raurik

    Personally, I preferred Vault when it came out.
    Nowadays I don’t drink soda because of the horrible side effects they have on your enamel. I’d like to have teeth and a stomach when I’m 40.
    Nowadays the only thing soda wise I drink is the energy drink NOS which I find the taste of to be superior to both as far as citrus drinks are concerned.


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