Mountain Dew Appears To Have A Troubling Case Of March Madness

Or is it Mtn Dew?
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If you’ve seen the bracket that I filled out for the Dealbreaker Tournament Challenge, which followed the “advice” given in the introduction to the contest this week, you might be able to tell that this was not the college basketball season to which I paid the most attention in my life, and that the bracket was filled out primarily for the purpose of being able to monitor the progress of the competition and write occasional updates on the race for the grand prize of a banker’s bag.

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Having not watched college basketball leading up to the NCAA Tournament, I not only had no expertise to offer with regard to this year’s brackets, but also had not seen the commercial that had been airing with Grant Hill, actual likable Duke player turned Final Four announcer. In the spot for Mountain Dew, Hill sat at an anchor desk and got bleeped as he said trademarked phrases like “Sweet 16” and “Final Four.”

Ebony Magazine repackaged the paywalled Sports Business Daily report about Mountain Dew pulling the ad, then repackaged its own story into an 88-second video that starts with a shot of Mountain Dew being poured into a glass, which really serves to remind you how much Mountain Dew looks like the urine of a person with a rare and serious medical condition.

An important change between Sports Business Daily’s report and those that appeared at Ebony and others like Awful Announcing. The soda that Hill was endorsing became Mountain Dew, whereas in the original report, it was Mtn Dew.

This is a product that has existed since 1940, and is America’s dominant citrus soda. You would think that there would be some clarity on how to write its name for publication. The ultimate source, Wikipedia, calls it “Mountain Dew (stylized as Mtn Dew),” which does not do a whole lot of good because it validates both.

PepsiCo, smartly, owns both mountaindew.com and mtndew.com, with mtndew.com redirecting to mountaindew.com, which would seem a clear indication of preference for “Mountain Dew,” until you actually look at the website and see that they promote the “MTN DEW LINEUP” and opportunities to “Connect with MTN DEW” for things like a contest to meet Kevin Hart and sit courtside at the NBA playoffs, presumably talking about your shared love of MTN DEW® KICKSTART™ -- and yes, they put both the registered trademark and ordinary trademark symbols in a three-word thing on their own website.

On Twitter, Mountain Dew goes by @MountainDew, with the display name of Mountain Dew®, and usually tweets about MTN DEW, but will occasionally slip one in with a reference to Mountain Dew, even in the case of referring to the sponsorship of Chase Elliott’s race car, which very clearly had “Mtn Dew” painted on its hood.

Elsewhere on the Internet, you can find things like “The Weekly Dish, Presented by Mountain Dew Kickstart” on the website of the Golden State Warriors. Note that there are no trademark symbols there, but also that the Warriors’ website is part of NBA.com, which is part of Turner Sports Digital, which is part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network, which employs Grant Hill and also needed the Mountain Dew ad to go away because Coca-Cola is an NCAA sponsor.

So the ad is gone, but with attention to the fact that the ad existed in the first place, which might be better publicity than people actually seeing and eventually getting annoyed by the ad running nonstop through March Madness (trademarked, don’t care). Even for losing, Mountain Dew wins. Or, is it Mtn Dew? Whatever, congratulations to PepsiCo Citrus-Flavored Carbonated Caffeine Drink for the advertising coup. Now go figure out what the name of that nearly 80-year-old product is (Mountain Dew) and stick with it. x

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