Mountain Dew's 'Conquer With Courage' is both aspirational and relevant: PepsiCo's Vineet Sharma

As Vineet Sharma, Category Director- Mountain Dew, PepsiCo India, talked about how stepping out of the Indian persona of being closeted about one's courage stories or moments is essential, here's how the brand leveraged an on-ground activation and made it a spectacle of celebrating everyday courage of people's daily lives

Shreya Negi
New Update
Mountain Dew's 'Conquer With Courage' is both aspirational and relevant: PepsiCo's Vineet Sharma

Vineet Sharma

Building on the brand proposition and the iconic tagline ‘Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai’ Mountain Dew, a carbonated soft drink produced and owned by PepsiCo, had recently brought alive its brand concept into a real-life pedestal of having conquered achievements with courage.

As the age-old saying goes, ‘Failure is fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts’, Mountain Dew through its on-ground activation brought into life an experiential setup consisting of an instantaneous hologram set-up, 360 photobooths for celebrating victory moment and a #ConquerWithCourage wall showcasing over 3,000 images of people who shared their courage story in the course of nearly 10 days in the heart of South-Delhi Saket.

According to Vineet Sharma, Category Director- Mountain Dew, PepsiCo India, the on-ground activation for ‘Conquer With Courage’ was an extension of the earlier ad campaign titled ‘No Fear Is Too Small’ which was launched in September 2022 to celebrate the moments of courage in the routine life of the people.

He also went on to add that for this particular initiative, the brand had also collaborated with Indian Film Project and encouraged people to share their ‘courage stories’ with the project that has been ongoing for the past four months.

Prior to the ‘Conquer With Courage’ campaign, one of the other brand commercials of Mountain Dew also touched upon these facets of courage and showcased that no matter how big or small, everybody faces a sense of fear in some way or other and that nobody is fearless.

Giving a glimpse into how the brand came up with such an idea, Sharma stated that this idea struck when the brand was brainstorming ideas as to how it can bring to life the predominantly picked route of showcasing larger-than-life stories of courage and accomplishing things which no one has ever done before.

“Typically, monuments are made for people who have done something extraordinary, and we felt that if you overcome your fear, no matter how big or small, you deserve to be applauded,” he said.

As per the statistics given out by PepsiCo India’s Mountain Dew division, over one lakh consumer walk-ins happened at the activation which lasted for nearly 10 days.

It was in the backdrop of this, the brand went on to build an extensive yet experiential set-up for the people to come and share their courage stories and see themselves being applauded through a 12 feet hologram statue of courage placed on top of a 15 feet pedestal with the title- Dew Legend by deploying real-time 3D rendering technology.

A short glimpse into the Mountain Dew Legend on-ground activation:

Commenting as to how the public responded to or engaged with the set-up, Sharma candidly stated that one of the audiences who visited and shared his story of courage was a doctor who worked against all odds in the midst of the pandemic and worked for the larger good of the society by saving people’s lives.

“Each of us has our own courage story to tell, but we’re somewhere almost closeted inside and thus never celebrate our moments of courage. Sometimes, we are also a bit critical of ourselves and therefore we don’t end up applauding our everyday moments of courage within us,” emphasised Sharma.

Furthermore, he also pointed out that with the ‘Conquer With Courage’ on-ground activation, the brand pivoted its positioning this time around with the aim to touch every Indian and make them realise that courage in everyday life is worth celebrating and it is highly essential to celebrate courage no matter how small or big the context is.

Additionally, Sharma also went on to state that while Mountain Dew through its ‘Darr Sabko Lagta Hai, Gala Sabka Sukhta Hai’ tagline has carried the decade-long approach of showing celebrating out-of-the-world stories through an aspirational spectacle, it is the ‘Conquer With Courage’ ad campaign which brings in relevance as almost each one of us has some relatable experience to the brand commercial which gives a ‘goosebumpy’ vibe to the entire setting.

“The merit for us as a brand here was to hold on to both streams of communication- aspirational and relevance. Thus, moving forward we will find ways and means to continue to celebrate both out-of-the-world stories and everyday stories of facing our fears and conquering them with courage through our communication and also by bringing it to life,” he stated.

It is also to be noted that dating back all the way through Mountain Dew commercials, ‘Conquer with Courage’ is the only ad campaign wherein the brand didn’t showcase a celebrity figure yet garnered high success rates for the brand.

Conquer with Courage ad campaign:

Commenting on the success metrics or KPIs of the campaign, Sharma stated that the particular campaign crossed the standard benchmarks as the sharing of the campaign was 1.7 times more than the average and the view-through rate was two times the normal benchmark as people could really relate to it.

Additionally, Sharma also stated that the brand would soon be launching a campaign featuring its celebrity ambassadors because what the brand has witnessed in the past is a combination of both aspirational and relatable/relevant content that keeps the wheels moving.

Upon being questioned as to which was the agency of record behind the ‘Conquer With Courage’ campaign, Sharma replied that because the ad campaign was shot in the middle of the transition period of the creative and media duties, neither Leo Burnett nor Wunderman Thompson, was behind its conceptualisation helm.

“We worked closely with Madison Turnt and Anugrah to build the technology that was essential to meet our intention which was to create a spectacle out of heroes from everyday life and celebrate them. This was the first time in India that we brought the technology which carried out holograms of such massive size almost instantaneously,” he said.

Commenting on the on-ground activation, Sunny Vohra, CEO Madison Turnt and Anugrah, also said, “It was an endearing challenge, bringing global and Indian partners together and creating an unparalleled experience. We celebrated the courage of each and every individual who has conquered any big/small fear and made them a legend with a magnificent holographic statue on a large podium within a time frame of 30 seconds. We are thrilled to accomplish such a unique activation with Mountain Dew.”

What really set apart the Mountain Dew Legend set-up was that the audience could have a first-hand experience of the 12 feet high-res hologram on top of a 15-feet pedestal just seconds after the recording in real-time, unlike other hologram set-ups which use a library of pre-recorded videos.

Mountain Dew invites the public to have their shot at becoming a 'Legend by sharing their courage stories.

When questioned as to why the brand specifically chose Delhi for the set-up, Sharma replied that the north is one of the key markets for Mountain Dew so much so that it is the largest brand in its category when it comes to the Northern part of the country.

Last year, the brand also opened another tenet of South by onboarding Mahesh Babu as the brand ambassador.

The USP of Mountain Dew for years has been that it was built on an over-a-decade-long long yet consistent tagline of ‘Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai’ in such a fashion that a particular phrase coined by the brand itself had transcended into the pop-culture and became synonymous with the brand itself.

“It has very strongly resonated with the Strive-r India ethos where everyone wants to go ahead and surpass the fears that hold one back in their journeys and that’s precisely where Mountain Dew gives one the courage to take the next step forward and move a step closer to victory,” he added.

Apart from this, Sharma also stated that the neon green colour and the grip pack has also become synonymous with Mountain Dew over the years and that has helped the brand stand apart from its competitors with regard to the consumer psyche and preference based on the packaging.

In his views, the core target audience of Mountain Dew constitutes the people in the age group of 18-21 years who in their youth are venturing out of their homes and stepping into college life which is also the first moment of fear in our lives as one needs to leave the comfort corners of their homes and step out in the world filled with opportunities and hardships.

“The brand’s philosophy pivots strongly into that particular age group and says that it doesn’t matter, fear is something that everybody has instilled in themselves but what matters is the courage to conquer it,” he added.

Furthermore, Sharma also went on to add that ‘Conquer With Courage’ was an ad campaign which was a reflection of the movement of Mountain Dew which the brand wanted to see from a more TV-forward to a more digital-forward and experiential-forward manner which created an entire movement for the brand.

“Our intention for all the activities happening under the ‘Conquer With Courage’ ad campaign has been focussed on making things more experiential through hoardings, digital campaigns and even the on-ground activation,” he added.

As part of the ‘Conquer with Courage’ ad campaign, Mountain Dew had taken a fresh approach of not sticking to the traditional Digital hoardings and shaking things up a notch by installing non-static moving creatives.

“Because the task at hand was to convey a sense of adventure in a real-life-like size of a hoarding, the static option could just not be the way forward as it is limited by the format,” he said.

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