How does the Mountain Dew brand fit with the Dark Knight franchise?
A lot of the reasons we’re partnering together are because of our fans. Both brands are bold and distinctive. They have a certain perspective and point of view that from a movie or beverage standpoint, other brands don’t have. That’s what really sparked the interest.
What is it about Mountain Dew fans that make them different?
It’s a mindset and it’s the passion. Whether it’s at a NASCAR race or on the streets of New York, the people that drink this brand – that love this brand – transcend age and ethnicity.
The Dark Knight campaign includes a special edition flavour (Dark Berry) and a branded website, DewGothamCity.com. How do you keep the Mountain Dew brand visible on the site without spoiling the mystique and authenticity of a superhero universe?
It was truly about collaboration. This took a lot of back and forth to make sure that we were doing right by our fans.
We wanted to make it authentic to the experience of truly being inside Gotham City, so we had to give up some of the branding opportunities. At the same time we balanced it with a lot of promotional items in terms of gear and sweepstakes.
How closely did you collaborate with the film’s producers?
A lot of the gear items were designed by Mountain Dew and we worked with filmmakers in the studio in terms of approval or things that they wanted to push.
The site’s content is authentic to the filmmakers – they have such an in-depth understanding (I mean they created the storyline!) – and that was where the collaboration came in. They knew what we were trying to accomplish, but I wasn’t about to go creative, because it’s so much better coming from them.
Do you think working with brands is something filmmakers are enthusiastic about or are they more hesitant?
I think it’s going to be an individual-by-individual basis in terms of a film standpoint and what they’re looking to achieve.
We have had a great relationship with Warner Brothers and the Nolans because from the outset we’ve had a very clear objective of what we want to get out of the promotion and what they want to get out of the promotion.
When you have the shared ethos and the shared objective, it makes sense. Where it goes wrong is when one side is trying to get something very different than the other side.
Was this campaign designed to “go viral” from the get-go?
How I view consumer engagement is not necessarily the same as going viral. Do we want people to share it? Do we want word of mouth and people saying, “it’s not just a cool site, it’s giving me something that I couldn’t get elsewhere”? Yes. That’s really what we’re striving for.
It’s great if it goes viral, but this site is not hinging on the success rate of things going viral, it’s hinging on our fans and fans of The Dark Knight Rises and delivering aspects that they want to talk about.
The Dark Knight Rises is expected to be a big hit, but no one can predict the future. How do you measure the risk involved with affiliating a brand with a film? What if it turns out to be a flop?
There’s always a risk, but when you’re aligned up front and when you’re so excited and when you have the fan base, you mitigate that risk.
You have to start early and get everyone on the same page by having those open dialogues, because at the end of the day, we’re both trying to accomplish the same things.