Mountain Dew Is Telling A Real-Time Snapchat Story For The Super Bowl

The brand is experimenting with a social choose-your-own-adventure for its big game campaign.

Mountain Dew is a brand that is constantly engaging with young consumers. We know this because they have a breakfast energy drink. Who else makes Oculus Rift experiences of skateboarding through Las Vegas? So for Super Bowl 2015, the brand wanted to come up with something similarly unique to launch two new flavors and extend the morning boost beverage, Kickstart, beyond the a.m. Its campaign includes the requisite TV ad, running during the pre-game, to introduce the new drinks as a way to get any good night of fun started.


But the brand’s real play will start a day before that ad even airs, with a real-time Snapchat story that allows its followers to choose the direction things head, ending with a Super Bowl pre-game party. What kind of party, who is there, and other details will be up to fans to decide. Mountain Dew, working with its social agency Vayner Media, will shoot and post Snapchat videos, let people choose the story’s direction by taking screenshots and posting them with the hashtag #Kickstart, then shoot and post based on those votes, let people choose again, and so on until the story ends, wherever it might end. The “Kickstory” posts will start to hit Snapchat on January 31 and be live for 24 hours (as all Snapchat Stories are), then disappear on Super Bowl Sunday just before kick-off.

And just as traditional Super Bowl ads are thick with celebrity cameos, the Snapchat story will star social media stars David Lopez, Jerry Purpdrank, and D-Trix (who’s also the dancing scuba diver in the TV spot).

Director of brand marketing Jamal Henderson says the brand has been playing around with Snapchat since last summer and thought it would be a fun to figure out how to use it for the Super Bowl. “We thought it would be really interesting to tell a longer form story on a short-form video platform, that also ties in with the TV ad,” says Henderson. “Everyone watches TV with a second screen these days so for us it’s about having the whole media mix.”

The brand’s marketing team and Vayner will be watching how the story unfolds along with its Snapchat followers, and Henderson knows there are inherent risks in a real-time project like this. “There’s definitely going to be a learning curve,” he says. “So leading up to it, it’s just about hacking and troubleshooting it. It’s a real-time thing, there aren’t a lot of do-overs, so we’re doing a rehearsal on Friday before the real thing on Saturday. In a way it’s a bit like live theater. There’s an expectation when something’s happening on social media, that it’s happening then and there, so we’re doing it this way to be as authentic as possible.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.