Ok, we need to talk about Puppy Monkey Baby. There’s weird like Avocados from Mexico’s out-of-this-galaxy museum. Then there’s grotesquely weird like Puppy Monkey Baby. The Super Bowl is a wealth of advertisers attempting to create the biggest boom on the biggest stage, and Mountain Dew’s Super Bowl spot for Kickstart didn’t pull any punches and certainly wagged many tails. Often times the most interesting entertainment comes from divided opinions and launches occasions for discussion. Or in Puppy Monkey Baby’s case: just what in the hell was Mountain Dew thinking?
It’s a thought, no, reaction millions had when viewing Mountain Dew’s scruffy-tailed, pug-faced, diaper-wearing mascot. As Examiner put it in an article, it was a “stuff of viral nightmares.” It’s a completely nonsensical commercial, and that’s the point. It got everyone talking about how strange, creepy, gross, weird, funny, and silly it was. It spread like wildfire because of all that.
Examiner.com was not wrong in its assessment of Puppy Monkey Baby. It indeed went viral. In fact, just take a look at some stats. It has over 14 million views (most of any Super Bowl 50 commercial) on YouTube, dozens of articles (in praise, condemnation, bewilderment), and trended on Twitter. This was no accident on Mountain Dew’s part.
Mountain Dew understands the situation before them. The Super Bowl is a special time for advertising. It’s new entertainment for viewers, and as a result, every advertiser must bring out their top creative talent.
Strategic marketing hit early for Mountain Dew. The company didn’t invest everything on 30 seconds. Mountain Dew released the commercial days ahead of the Super Bowl, and those early birds seeking the commercials ahead of time buffed up the viewership early. Although, it’s a common practice nowadays to release early, but Mountain Dew went a step further. Mountain Dew teased the ad three times. Each teaser video neared two million in views as it led to the February 3rd airing of the Super Bowl spot.
Mountain Dew expected Puppy Monkey Baby to gain a ton of talk on social media. The flippant and reactive social media platform of twitter was the perfect place for Mountain Dew to engage with the puzzled public. Right when the commercial aired, Mountain Dew responded in droves. Various animated gifs were made ahead of time with Puppy Monkey Baby dancing, flaring its arms, and gesturing like Football referees. The key to Mountain Dew’s success on Twitter was its quantity of replies.
Watching the commercial, it was no surprise it went viral. First, naming the creature “Puppy Monkey Baby” and have it repeat its name incomprehensibly fast is smart on the part of Mountain Dew. It made recalling the creature’s name difficult, prompting many to ask others and/or actively search for the name.
Second, Puppy Monkey Baby was the star of the commercial, not the product itself. The Kickstart product wasn’t positioned as a priority because a majority of the world doesn’t care about Mountain Dew. Every animated gif Mountain Dew tweeted from their account had the Kickstart logo affixed in a corner, and those hundreds of tweets had fantastic engagement. Puppy Monkey Baby carried the Mountain Dew brand, and its new product Kickstart, on its viral back.
Third, the creation of the Puppy Monkey Baby was for the combination of juice, Mountain Dew, and caffeine in the product Kickstart. It’s a no brainer to see how that fits. It was a bold attempt to be sincerely weird and get people talking.
Now, you can counter all this praise by saying this horrific monstrosity is bad for Kickstart. This monster is a combination of three cute things (puppies, babies, and monkeys), but it’s not cute at all; how could Kickstart be pleasant to drink? Mountain Dew’s image and brand, however, can handle an association like that. Mountain Dew isn’t a family brand. It’s a soft drink company that prides itself on being young and alternative. Today, weird and nonsensical gain attention.
For more weird and nonsensical strategic marketing, Dying Light’s “DrinkForDLC” campaign made the public a bit healthier. If jokey campaigns are not your taste, our guide to right-time marketing and social media should help craft your message and make a big splash.