Earnhardt is retiring after this racing season and has been a spokesperson for Mountain Dew for over a decade. Instead of going the somber route when he retires at the end of the season, Mountain Dew is staying true to its brand and releasing a humorous tribute piece by BBDO.
The two-minute-plus spot will introduce the world to a new character named Dewey Ryder, played with brash confidence McBride. Ryder enters with a cameraman capturing the scene as he meets Earnhardt for the first time and announces to him as his replacement for the first time. He then shows a shockingly humorous lack of knowledge about the car and the equipment.
He wears a Mountain Dew racing suit with shorts, plus mesh stockings on his arms rather than a fireproof suit.
“Who’s catching on fire? Not me,” he says.
“We wrote the Dewey character with Danny in mind. His style of comedy is a natural fit with Mountain Dew’s own irreverent tone. And it probably didn’t hurt that just after we showed him the idea, Danny ran into Dale at a bar in South Carolina,” said Monty Pera, creative director, BBDO New York.
Ryder even ‘wrote’ his own press release on the passing of the torch. It read as follows:
“I’ll be picking up right where Junior left off. Driving fast cars. Endorsementing. Basically, the same stuff that he does.
While I have never actually driven a stock car, I know enough to be dangerous. Now, you may be asking yourself, ‘Aren’t you Danny McBride, the world’s funniest actor? What are you doing racing cars?’ To which I say, ‘Pfft. I’m Dewey Ryder, the rightful heir to this throne.’
This is surely a bittersweet announcement for some of you. Dale Jr and Mountain Dew have been partners since 2008. Dale Jr is super popular and everyone says he’s a swell guy. But every time a stock car door closes, another stock car door opens [editor’s correction: stock cars do not have doors] and I’m here to pick up the mantle.
“But don’t just take my word for it. When I spoke to my buddy, Dale Jr, he said, and I quote, ‘My partnership with DEW goes back almost a decade and it’s been an amazing ride. I knew the guy who’d come after me would be someone special, and Dewey’s definitely… well, he’s someone.’
Dew can back that up too. “Dewey has no racing experience. No training behind the wheel. And, we have no idea how this is going to work out,” said Chauncey Hamlett, Senior Director of Marketing, Mountain Dew. ‘We’ll definitely miss seeing Dale Jr behind the wheel as he starts his retirement, as he is an incredible partner to the brand. Dewey Ryder brings something we’ve never seen before, from the way he holds a bottle of Dew to his bold, fun and boundary-pushing style.’”
Aside from the long online version, the campaign will debut on television during Earnhardt’s second to last race in Martinsville this Sunday (October 29) and will also air during game five of the World Series that evening.