- Mtn Dew will mark the return of its Flamin' Hot flavor with an experiential activation that celebrates its self-proclaimed status as the official drink of Hell, Michigan, per a press release.
- "To Hell with Mtn Dew Flamin' Hot" features music by "Jersey Shore" star DJ Pauly D and a four-course menu of Flamin' Hot snacks curated by chef/rapper Action Bronson. The free event will take place on April 30 at -42.4338° N, 83.9845° W.
- The event taps into the popularity of PepsiCo Frito-Lay's Flamin' Hot flavor and allows the brand to return to experiential marketing at a time when the U.S. has mostly returned to pre-pandemic activities as the COVID-19 crisis enters an endemic phase.
Mtn Dew is marking the return of its Flamin' Hot flavor by playfully celebrating its spicy-sweet formulation as the "official" drink of Hell, Michigan, a tiny, unincorporated community about an hour outside of Detroit. Mtn Dew Flamin' Hot sold out in less than an hour when it was launched last year, inspiring the company to bring it back nationwide, Mtn Dew CMO Pat O'Toole said in the press release.
For the To Hell with Mtn Dew Flamin' Hot event, Mtn Dew has tapped celebrities DJ Pauly D, who first rose to prominence thanks to MTV's "Jersey Shore" reality show, and Action Bronson, a rapper who is also a chef and TV host. For the product's initial launch, Mtn Dew tapped "grandma influencers" and released a streetwear capsule — a cultural play that continues with the live event, which also includes a mixology-focused Sparky's Saloon and a takeover of a local mini-golf course.
The event also comes as brands return with full force to experiential marketing, a tactic that waned in popularity during the height of the pandemic due to social distancing and other restrictions. Fellow PepsiCo Frito-Lay brands Cheetos and Lay's have returned to large-scale events, with the former debuting a "Hands-Free House" at South By Southwest and the latter serving a tasting menu at Coachella. Compared to those activations, Mtn Dew's party in Hell plays more like a gimmick that could generate social media buzz, like the brand's outdoor enthusiasts' playground in Mountain City, Tennessee, that it launched late last year.
The popularity of the Flamin' Hot formulation has led PepsiCo Frito Lay to roll out the flavor beyond its original Cheetos products, culminating in a co-branded Super Bowl spot that reimagined Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" and featured Megan Thee Stallion. Similarly, the company has worked to expand its brand, teaming with Boston Beer to release Hard Mtn Dew this year.