- PepsiCo brand Mountain Dew is bringing back its Baja Blast flavor this summer. However, on April 2 the brand said in a news release that the flavor will only be available at the Baja Bungalow in Baja California, Mexico, and encouraged fans to make a reservation.
- The listing for the bungalow on Craig's List, which attracted serious social media chatter, has since been flagged for removal, one of several clues that the news was an April Fools' prank. Mountain Dew encouraged fans to book a stay at the "summer's most wanted destination," the three-bedroom, two-bathroom Baja Bungalow, where they could enjoy a hydro typhoon surf simulator and ride a shark. Guests were also promised their own personal supply of Baja Blast during their stay.
- Consumer demand on social media using the hashtag #BringBajaBlastBack prompted the company to offer a limited supply of the drink at the bungalow, the release said.
Mountain Dew used April Fools' Day to ramp up excitement around the imminent return of Baja Blast this summer. The limited-edition flavor, which has a loyal following and has been brought back several times, is the focus of a social media push launched last fall with the hashtag #BringBajaBlastBack that also asks users to tweet what they would do to get the flavor back on the shelves.
Incorporating Baja Blast into an April Fools’ gag is a smart move for Mountain Dew, as this approach can get people talking about the flavor before its re-release. Thrill-seekers looking for a chance to ride a shark, however, may be disappointed to learn that the Baja Bungalow appears to have been a prank, as the listing has disappeared from Craig's List.
Baja Blast has been one of Mountain Dew's strongest sellers, according to Ad Age. The drink was only available at Taco Bell until 2014, when PepsiCo began distributing it in stores as a limited release. Beverage brands are leveraging limited-edition products and quirky marketing tactics, like the April Fools' prank, to grab the attention of younger consumers who aren't drinking as much soda as older generations. Soft drink sales have been in decline for 12 years in a row, according to a Reuters report citing data from trade publication Beverage Digest. In 2017, soda consumption dropped to about 642 8-ounce servings, the lowest level since 1985.
PepsiCo has attempted to drive brand loyalty among younger consumers through several lifestyle- and experience-driven marketing events. Last year, Mountain Dew took over the Musicland Hotel in Palm Springs, California, for a two-day music festival coinciding with the Coachella Music Festival, which often draws a younger crowd. The campaign, promoting the Mountain Dew's premium Label Series, included a hotel room virtual reality experience and merchandise collaboration with the social media firm Vfiles that featured Hawaiian shirts, beach towels and bandanas.