Mountain Dew blends trends in a new campaign that reimagines an episode from Bob Ross’s iconic art show, “The Joy of Painting”.
Late landscape painter Bob Ross’s YouTube channel boasts almost 5 million subscribers. Viewers learn how to paint simple, yet stunning creations often based on the beauty of nature, while also relaxing to the dulcet tones of Ross’s voice, as touted in the channel trailer. Thanks to the magic of prosthetics and CGI technology, Mountain Dew was able to film a “lost episode” of the show that enlists a Bob Ross body double (a painter certified by Ross’ company) to teach viewers how to paint on top of a Dew-inspired scenic canvas. The episode premiered on March 6 and is being promoted via short TV spots. To keep the creativity going, the beverage brand called on a series of influencers to give away limited-edition paint kits on TikTok post-premiere. Mountain Dew also aims to host an online auction that will give people a chance to bid on Ross-inspired artwork from the TV commercials, the proceeds of which will then be donated to a Bob Ross Company-approved nonprofit.
For many consumers, the campaign could awaken memories of the beloved painter, and as such, dip into the nostalgia trend currently taking over industries of all backgrounds. For others, the campaign could cure feelings of boredom during the depths of the pandemic, something Heinz addressed in its recent campaign. For others still, the relaxing episode and invitation to express themselves may alleviate mental health strains, another very real side effect of the pandemic circumstances and area for brands to focus on. Despite increased YouTube usage among consumers, average video views decreased by 34% amongst brands in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Food & Beverages. That said, plunging into YouTube content could give Mountain Dew the edge it needs to get out of Gartner’s Average class amongst the Pepsi’s and Coca-Cola’s of the world.
At the same time, “deepfake” technology comes with many concerns of its own, many of which are reflected in the mixed comments under the campaign video that serve as a reminder that boundaries are important. While blending trends and tapping into the power of nostalgia, brands should be mindful of the emotions their recreations can evoke in consumers.