Monday, March 18, 2013

Mountain Dew Kickstart!

Like we NEEDED an excuse to drink Mountain Dew first thing in the morning, anyways…


“My heart, my heart,” those poet laureates/one time inspiration for a Sega Genesis pinball game Motley Crue once sang. Even though that song was probably written about doing heroin or something, I think it’s also a fitting quote to describe what the brand new “Mountain Dew Kickstart” beverages will do to your central nervous system. “When I get high,” to re-phrase the immortal echoing of one Vincent Neil, “I get high on Dew.”

I’m not really sure why the new Kickstart beverages are on store shelves, but here they are, anyway. At first glance, you would probably assume they were just another fly-by-night energy drink, and unless you are brushing right up against a display -- and the cans are turned in such a manner that the “Mountain Dew” logo on the aluminum is visible -- you’d probably never be the wiser.

There are a lot of MD variations out there, and what makes these two remixes different is that they’re intended for breakfast consumption (as if most of the people reading this don’t consider Mountain Dew Pitch Black to be appropriate dining at 8:30 in the morning, as it is.) All in all, the marketing angle here reminds me quite a great deal of the failed Pepsi A.M. putsch from way back when; and if you don’t know everything there is to possibly know about that little debacle, you really ought to.


So, we get two different flavors here: the red can is called “energizing fruit punch,” while the orange one is called “energizing orange citrus.” Take a wild guess what the two are supposed to taste like, based on the nomenclature alone.


I recently came into contact with several “The Last Exorcism Part II” commemorative cups, because…I honestly have no idea. I just walked in and found them in the kitchen one day, and as such, decided they would be the perfect implements to conduct my very first (and conceivably, last) taste test of this Mountain Dew of the Kickstart variety.


So, as you could no doubt see, the red can contains very fruity smelling red stuff, while the orange can contains some very fruity smelling orange stuff. I guess the fruit punch variety had a sweeter aroma, but the citrus stuff was, on the whole, more Mountain Dew-smelling (and more tart) than the crimson iteration.


To the untrained eye, I really don’t think too many folks would be able to differentiate these two products from standard cans of Mountain Dew or Mountain Dew Code Red. The orange citrus stuff, especially, looks quite a bit like Mountain Dew of the standard variety, and even does the same bubbling and fizzing that the original does when you first crack it open. Visually, these things look pretty unremarkable, but the scents are totally unlike anything you’d expect to whiff out of a Mountain Dew can. The red stuff smells more like Gatorade than Dew, and while the other variation has a mild Dew scent going on, it still smells a little more sulfuric than your typical can of pop.


I guess you could say that both beverages, as far as hues go, were taking the hyper-vibrant, Technicolor, Juicy-Juice route here. I don’t think anybody would really mistake the electric red and green fluid for something by-god nutritional, but just glancing at the stuff, I suppose one could momentarily mistake them for standard breakfast drinks. The two products tasted pretty much the same, with the red cola having a mildly sweeter, cherry-flavor while the orange stuff was just straight up citrus drank, through and through. Not really my favorite types of drinks in the world, but they weren’t horribly offensive, either.


Of course, it’s basically impossible for me to be in the same room with BOTH beverages and not desire a little soda miscegenation, and the end result was…well, a beverage that I thought tasted WAY better than either of the standalone retail products, really. I’m not really sure what I would call the anti-freeze colored concoction here, as the taste of the fused beverages lingered somewhere between melted Slush Puppy and pineapple cola; all I know is, if you wind up with both colas on hand, I would STRONLY suggest making a little citrus-fruit punch cocktail out of your resources. Hell, I well go on record and say it; it might just taste even BETTER than what you got when you mixed Pepsi Next Paradise Mango with Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla.

Is there really anything more that can (or at least, needs) to be said about Mountain Dew Kickstart? Well, I’m not really sure these things are destined for a long shelf life - traditionally, breakfast-themed colas have stunk like turds when it comes to sales - but really, it’s the marketing here that’s really ensuring that the variations will sink like a brick. A huge problem here is the packaging itself; the Mountain Dew logos are hardly displayed at all, and it’s a safe bet that 102 out of 100 consumers just walking by the display would never realize that the offerings AREN’T just another boring energy drink. As actual drinks go, they aren’t bad, but they’re not really worth going out of your way to experience, either.


When it’s all said and done, I think we’re going to look back on the Kickstart is yet another example of a soda stalwart overstretching its boundaries and faltering in its attempts to infiltrate an already glutted breakfast drink market. Granted, Kickstart isn’t as bad as Coca-Cola Blak, but it’s pretty safe to say these things are likewise destined to be one-and-done, limited-time only offerings para bueno.

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