The Puppy-Monkey-Baby Phenomenon
We’ve have all seen, and we have all heard it. Some people were disgusted, some amused, but no one can deny that they were at least slightly intrigued. During a commercial break of super bowl 50 everything was looking like normal commercials, nothing out of the ordinary. When suddenly you are watching three bored looking guys on a couch. “Man, I might just chill tonight” says one of the unsuspecting victims. When out of no where an apparent “secret door” opens in the wall and out walks something unlike anything else I’ve seen in a commercial before: Puppy. Monkey. Baby.
In his (its?) hands the puppy-monkey-baby carries an ice bucket with three Mountain Dew kickstart energy drinks in it. He rhythmically chants “Puppy monkey baby” over and over again. Kicking over a bowl of popcorn he jumps into one of the young gentle-man’s laps and proceeds to lick his face. At this point the three guys are feeling energized by their Mountain Dew kickstarts, and they follow the still chanting Puppy-monkey-baby out of the room all dancing to the beat.
This advertisement utilizes three main ad techniques: redundancy, plain folk, and irritation. The redundancy aspect is clear in the continuous chanting of “puppy monkey baby” by the Puppy-monkey-baby himself. This strategy is used in this ad to make it memorable and also to burn the phrase “puppy monkey baby” into your mind. In the weeks after you see this ad anytime you hear the mention of a puppy, monkey, or a baby chances are that you will think back to that slightly disturbing ad that you saw last week on tv. Mountain Dew does a great job of being annoying, repetitive and getting your attention while still getting the point across of what exactly they are trying to sell, the Mountain Dew Kickstart energy drink. Now you hear about a puppy, monkey, or a baby and you think “That sure was a freaky ad the Mountain Dew made. I wonder what made them choose to run such a weird ad”. Then you go to your friends and you say “Hey did you see this weird Mountain Dew ad?”, and you’ve answered your own question as to why they ran such a strange ad, because it was redundant and memorable. Whether that be memorable in good or bad ways it does not matter because both get the Kickstart energy drink media exposure.
The next advertising technique is plain folk, and this one is simple. Mountain Dew has three regular dudes sitting on this couch. Not three business men in suits, or three old women with walkers, they specifically chose the people that they did in order to appeal to their audience of ordinary guys, or plain folk. It shows that Mountain Dew kickstart is a beverage to be consumed when you and your friends are hanging out and you need a little something to get the party started. Where else are you going to turn other than of course, the Mountain Dew Kickstart.
The Final ad strategy utilized in the advertisement is irritation, and like redundancy it is fairly obvious. This ad is centered around a little creature that marches around chanting “puppy monkey baby”. If that does not irritate you then you have more patience than the average person. The reason that irritation is useful is that it cause you to want to talk about it you go on twitter and post about how annoying the ad for Mountain Dew you just saw was, thus giving more and more exposure to Mountain Dew.
The Puppy-monkey-baby phenomenon was a calculated move by Mountain Dew. They knew exactly the kind of hype and confusion that such a commercial would cause. They also knew the level of exposure that they stood to gain from such a commercial. Within minutes of airing people were already talking about the Puppy-monkey-baby on every social media platform imaginable. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if the Puppy-monkey-baby has its own reality TV show by this time next year.