Have a Drink

God asked me the other day about what’s been happening with Mountain Dew Somehow over the last few years it’s gone from being a drink to being a franchise. I remember when it made what I think was its first really big promotional push. I was a kid and the advertising for it was all over television. There was an animated caricature of a hillbilly shouting out “Yahoo, Mountain Dew.”

Mountain dew, the original Mountain Dew, not Mountain Dew Lotus Fusion, or Mountain Dew Tropical Depression or whatever other variant is out there this week, is basically just another citrus soda. It’s different than the lemon-limes (like 7Up and Sprite) and the grapefruits (like Squirt and Fresca) in that it doesn’t strive for that “crisp” citrus drink quality, instead joining its more common pop brethren by being sweet and heavily caffeinated. I think the caffeine was there mainly to differentiate it from Cactus Cooler.

But it also has that yellow color. And the “dew” in the name is awfully close to one of the slang terms for excrement. Combine those with the unsophisticated plumbing that young boys in the sixties believed to be extant in the backwaters of Appalachia that featured in the advertising blitz and it didn’t take much to imagine that they were all but saying “Hey, come try our urine soda!” To a prepubescent tyke like myself this was even better than a good fart joke, and I was instantly enticed. To this day I still occasionally imagine I’m indulging in a bit of cleaned up bodily waste when I pop open a can. Thankfully, the illusion never makes it past the first taste.

So I think that maybe this ties in to the mass profusion of different variations on Mountain Dew that now adorn our convenience store shelves. Somebody at Pepsi woke up one day and thought, “You know, if we can sell a brand of soft drink by invoking piss, what couldn’t we sell under that brand?” Of course, thinking about it this way really does make me wonder what kind of medical condition drove someone to come up with Mountain Dew Code Red.

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