Jun. 12th, 2006

Diet Coke, Mentos & the Dixie Chicks throw down with Johnny Consumer.

Two middle aged attorneys caused a stir last week by dropping 523 Mentos into 50 or so liter bottles of Diet Coke. To the delight of millions of online fans, Messers Voltz and Grobe uploaded a video of their low-cal symphony to Revver.com.

The result is a series of fizzy gushers that reach 20ft in height.

Mento’s marketing VP, Pete Healy, is quoted in today’s Journal as being "tickled pink" by the publicity.

Unlike Coke who turned up their noses at the phenomenon, "We would hope people want to drink it [Diet Coke] more than try experiments with it" sniffed Coke spokesperon Susan McDermott in the same Journal article. Ouch.

I bet she is squirming in her seat this morning.

So what does this have to do with the Dixie Chicks?

Renown for their Anti-Bush comments, the Texan Chicks have since changed format, added black eyeliner and gone all goth: and hard on the heels of alienating their country fan base by calling them all "rednecks" are now in the midst of cancelling half of their US  tour dates due to lack luster ticket sales.

As bands like the Chicks now make more from tours than they do from concert tours this is a painful development for the girls. Overseas sales, especially in Canada and Europe, remain brisk.   

One doubts those markets have quite the same revenue potential as the populous South.

There are lessons here for the global marketer: consumers have their own ideas about what they will buy–and why. They determine success in the market. Marketers are best advised to go with the flow.


  • Hugh
    Jun. 12th, 2006

    “There are lessons here for the global marketer: consumers have their own ideas about what they will buy–and why.”
    This is exactly right.
    “Marketers are best advised to go with the flow.”
    This, however, is not.
    Is it reasonable for one to expect the Dixie Chicks to demolish an existing constituency and create an entirely new one in the space of a couple of months?
    It is not.
    Furthermore – the Chicks are going from the most sheeplike (and, yes, lucrative) demographic available, to the most argumentative and finicky. So, the Chicks will have to ask themselves – how do we keep, and grow, THIS market?
    If I had ALL the answers, I’d have had one of my underlings write this post. But I can tell you one of the most important answers – authenticity. The Chicks will have to endure some incoming fire, and neither flinch nor fall before it. If they can do that, well, there’s nothing America likes better than a good comeback story. I’d stay tuned for it.
    The larger point (finally!) being – “going with the flow” is fine if short term dollars are all that you’re after. But if you aim to achieve something, you’ve got to be willing to flip the easy market (and the dollars in their NASCAR wallets) the bird.

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