- Mountain Dew announced in a press release the "breaking news" that it's found a replacement for its long-time brand ambassador and NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dewey Ryder, who also penned a large portion of the release, will now don the green firesuit when the driver retires from the sport at the end of this season.
- Earnhardt has been a Mountain Dew brand ambassador since 2008. Ryder, played by the actor and comedian Danny McBride, is not assuming his new role particularly gracefully, as detailed in his write-up. When asked whether he is, in fact, McBride, the character responded, "Pfft. I'm Dewey Ryder, the rightful heir to this throne."
- The handover in sponsorship was captured in a 2:40 video spot from the soft drink brand, created with the help of the "ad nerds" at agency BBDO. It's available to view on YouTube and will also air on Sunday, Oct. 29, on NBCSN during the Martinsville Speedway race. Mountain Dew is encouraging fans to keep an eye out for the character on social media using the hashtag #DeweyRyder, suggesting McBride will appear more frequently down the road.
Here's one way to herald a new brand mascot: From the YouTube spot to the press release itself, Mountain Dew and its creative partners have pulled out all the stops to introduce Dewey Rider in his full unceremonious glory. McBride is the perfect fit for this type of belligerent, prideful and comedically-unaware character, reflecting previous roles such as his turn on the HBO cult hit "Eastbound and Down." The #DeweyRyder hashtag might spark some fan curiosity on social media as the PepsiCo arm attempts to ramp up interest for the new face of its NASCAR marketing.
Mountain Dew execs, for their part, are feigning befuddlement at the change-up in "endorsement-ing," to quote Ryder in the spot.
"Dewey has no racing experience. No training behind the wheel. And, we have no idea how this is going to work out," Chauncey Hamlett, the brand's senior director of marketing, said in the release. "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."
While most of that statement is couched in playful ignorance, the brand is likely going to miss Earnhardt, who's been a key ambassador for nearly a decade. Mountain Dew's been giving him an appropriate send-off in its advertising this year, including through a DEW-S-A campaign from May that parodied the style of bad TV infomercials.