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By Webb Wright | Reporter

February 17, 2022 | 4 min read

MTN Dew has long positioned itself as a quirky, irreverent, youthful brand. Now it’s bringing that same energy to a new campaign – in partnership with Charlie Day – slated to air just before the start of NBA All-Star 2022.

There are plenty of tired advertising tropes out there, especially when it comes to targeting gen Z. MTN Dew and actor Charlie Day decided to lean into some of these clichés in a new campaign dropping tomorrow.

There are 10 individual spots designed to position MTN Dew as a fresh, hip brand that isn’t confined by some of the traditional mores of advertising. To that end, the campaign leverages both humor and a meta breaking of the fourth wall.

For example, one spot opens with Day looking quizzically into the camera, saying: “Ads are getting shorter and sh-” at which point a slide with ‘Do the Dew’ alongside a few MTN Dew bottles comes crashing down, cutting him off. He has to literally break through a slide in order to continue talking, only to have another slide crash down upon him.

MTN Dew clearly recognized that many ads were getting brief to the point of comedy, and decided to get in on the joke. Variations on that theme play out in many, but not all, of the ads; one of the outliers, made for social, is a recording of Day playing an original song on a piano in front of a mirror. (Anyone who knows and loves It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Wiki knows that Day is, in fact, quite a talented pianist – as well as the ‘fighter of the nightman’ and the ‘champion of the sun.’)

Day’s particular talents and rising popularity made him a “perfect fit” for the new ad campaign, says Pat O’Toole, MTN Dew’s vice-president of marketing. “He really embodies the brand. He’s an exceptionally talented person. He’s an executive producer, he’s an actor, he’s a classically trained musician. He’s been in big blockbuster hits. He’s been a voiceover actor. So, people recognize either his face or his voice, and then you’ve got It’s Always Sunny, which is the longest-running live-action show on television right now. He’s [also] in memes all over the place, right. And so he’s kind of become part of meme culture too. He just over-delivered in every way, and I think he will resonate broadly with the whole spectrum of Dew consumers.”

NBA All-Star Zach Levine also appears in the new campaign, as does “Dew icon and fan-favorite” Puppy Monkey Baby. For anyone who’s unfamiliar, Puppy Monkey Baby is a nightmarish hybrid of, you guessed it, a puppy, a monkey and a baby. O’Toole describes the inspiration behind this oddly adorable monstrosity: ”You’ve got to have a puppy, a monkey or a baby in it to have a high-scoring ad on the ad meter, so we’re just going to mash together all three.”

Social media will play a pivotal role in the campaign. “We need to have our standard 30s and 15s, but we also wanted to design for where consumers are spending more and more time ... you need to make content that is endemic to where it’s going to live.” The aforementioned spot with Day playing the piano, for example, was specifically made for TikTok. That goal of resonating among a wide audience was also one of the factors that led to the decision to produce 10 separate spots. “[We decided to] have 10 separate pieces of creative because we know it’s going to be more effective if we build it for where it’s going to live and to speak to a specific consumer.”

MTN Dew, a PepsiCo-owned brand and the official soft drink of the NBA, will be “dropping the first spot just in time for NBA All-Star 2022,” which begins this Friday.

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