Kickstart: “DEW” a New Food Brand Extension

“Dew” the New Food Brand Extension: Kickstart

Revisiting PepsiCo and the launch of the Mountain Dew food brand extension: “not-an-energy-drink” breakfast soda.

We’ve seen this kind of brand extension before. Remember, Dr. Pepper TEN?

But unlike Dr. Pepper TEN, Kickstart isn’t eliminating an entire audience with its marketing concept. What Pepsi did was add 5% juice to its Moutain-Dew-like drink and calling it a breakfast drink! Like Dr. Pepper TEN, the company is simply adjusting the beverage ingredients and calling it something new.

I have a friend who drinks a diet coke every morning. She treats her diet coke, much like my coworkers treat their coffee. Can’t. Go. On. Must. Drink. Diet. Coke. Well, that is exactly the kind of lifestyle Kickstart is targeting for this drink—the people who drink soda regularly in the morning.

Mountain Dew vice president of marketing, Greg Lyons, said, “Our consumers told us they are looking for an alternative to traditional morning beverages —one that tastes great includes real fruit juice and has just the right amount of kick to help them start their days.

So Pepsi did not want its consumers to consider Kickstart an energy drink because of all the bad stereotypes. Fair enough. But then why are they positioning their product exactly like all other energy drinks?

Once More, With Energy!

dew the food brand extensionThe package resembles the cans of many other energy drinks. The names of the flavors are “energizing orange citrus” and “energizing fruit punch.” But wait… It’s not an energy drink? I’m interested to see how Kickstart will set itself apart from the energy drink world. It’s not a juice, but it’s not an energy drink. It’s an “energizing juice.” …So basically, it’s an energy drink.

Even the name “Kickstart” falls into line with other energy drinks. With drinks called “Sparks,” “Amp,” and “Full Throttle,” all you need to get going is a little “Kickstart.” It sounds more to me like we are building a dirt bike. In my opinion, Mountain Dew fell a little short on naming the “not-an-energy-drink” breakfast beverage.

It’s a very active website and has the look and feel of an energy drink. It’s packed with pictures, videos, and cool scrolling features. If the Kickstart team really wanted to position the soda as a breakfast drink, their website and brand should resemble something more like Tropicana or Jimmy Dean.

A fish.

Unfortunately, the market is calling their bluff on this one. If it swims like a fish and acts like a fish — then it’s a fish. Or I guess you could say… if it tastes and looks like an energy drink — it is one!


I know you’re wondering how it tastes and what it does to your body without actually trying it. Me too! Lucky for us, TIME staffers tried this “sort-of-juice-sort-of-soda” breakfast drink.

So if you’re ready to launch a new food brand extension and want to make sure your new product “toes the brand line,” please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food marketing topics, please visit our Food for Thought page or check out NewPoint’s Patrick Nycz’s book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.