Mountain Dew’s ‘Dub the Dew’ Online Poll Goes Horribly Wrong

Hackers struck a promotional website for the soft drink, and chaos ensued.

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The Dub the Dew campaign must have seemed like such a good idea at the time. After all, letting the Internet choose the name for a green-apple infused soft drink is great marketing and helps build brand loyalty, right? What could possibly go wrong?

But promoters forgot just what they were dealing with when soliciting the opinion of the masses — these were, after all, the same people who exiled rapper Pitbull to a Walmart in Alaska. As could have been expected, the results of Dub the Dew were so offensive and useless that the entire promotion needed to be shut down.

(MORE: From the NYC Soda Ban Hearing: The Best Arguments For and Against)

“Hitler did nothing wrong,” “Diabeetus,” and “Gushing Granny” all topped the online rankings to name the new drink, which Mountain Dew describes as “Classic Mtn Dew with green apple attitude.” Other high ranking suggestions included “Soda” and “Sierra Mist,” but the online shenanigans did not stop there.

In addition to simply bombarding the poll with hilariously unusable names, the pranksters even went so far as to hack into the site, adding a banner that read “Mtn Dew salutes the Israeli Mossad for demolishing 3 towers on 9/11!” and a pop-up message that resulted in an unwanted RickRolling.

Although there are some differing claims as to who perpetrated the attack on Dub the Dew, the smart money is on 4Chan’s /b/ board — a subsection of the popular website that is known for online antagonism. In addition to fingering 4Chan as the brilliant minds behind “Soylent Green” flavored Mountain Dew, social news website Reddit also mocked the audacity of the Dew promotion.

(MORE: The Bieber-YouTube-Porn Hack: Are Hackers Getting Meaner?)

“When will companies learn that the internet isn’t a good tool to name new products?” one user wrote, listing some of the more famous recent examples of interactive marketing gone wrong: the Justin Bieber concert in North Korea; Pitbull’s Alaska trip; and iSnack 2.0.

Of course, as Reddit user Masamune_X notes on the same thread, the funniest example of an online poll going wrong is probably the ‘Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts’ leading the pack for the city-sponsored renaming of the Austin, Tex. Solid Waste Services Department.

Still, no report on online poll pranking would be complete without an admission that TIME is no stranger to 4Chan’s whims. In our 2009 TIME 100 poll, the website not only pushed its founder to the top of the rankings, but also played with the next 20 poll spots.

UPDATE: Mountain Dew has released the following statement:

“Dub the Dew,” a local market promotional campaign that was created by one of our customers – not Mountain Dew – was compromised. We are working diligently with our customer’s team to remove all offensive content that was posted and putting measures in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.  Mountain Dew has a legacy of engaging its most loyal fans to tap innovative ideas for the brand through really successful programs like “DEWMocracy” and “Your Malt Dew” and so we sincerely apologize to all of our fans who may have been offended by this customer’s program.

MORE: New New Coke: Zero Calories, No Fake Sugar and No Weird Aftertaste?

65 comments
John Stephenson
John Stephenson

Don't you love it when marketing people come up with ideas, and don't listen to the programmers and web geeks?   They used to do that at my old place of employment, coming up with a "GREAT!" idea for a website.  When I told them it wouldn't work, they just put me on a "bad attitude" list. LOL

View Minder
View Minder

This is exactly why I should be the King of the Earth.

SofaKings
SofaKings

this is hilarious, I can't stop laughing

stepinit
stepinit

How about adding Viagra  and call it "Mount and do"?

darwiniandude
darwiniandude

Make the submissions annonymous. Someone at the company goes through them. If it wasn't a public list, this wouldn't have happened.

swift2010
swift2010

they keep thinking that social media influences a lot of people 

but people click likes and add friends by the thousand 

but it is not leading to massive increase of sales 

which is what people are surprised about 

 

Alex MacIntyre
Alex MacIntyre

This is very neat that they did this, but Mountain Dew is amazing, they should have gone with somebody else.

Now excuse me while I down a glass of Hitler did Nothing Wrong.

Tina Harvey
Tina Harvey

Mountain Dew, you don't know how to internet. Feed us, the wolves and trolls, and we will not disappoint you!

Tina Harvey
Tina Harvey

Fapple! hahahahahahaha I can't stop laughing. That's f-ing brilliant! 

SmallSpeakHouse
SmallSpeakHouse

I'd like to see the site, just to have a good laugh. Besides I don't think this is really bad for mountain dew, it's giving them extra advertisement, though in a way they didn't expect. Who really cares what their tagline is anyway?

jgay
jgay

why are people so upset that a marketing campaign for a soda company went wrong? why do you have to call out the vandals as immature? this campaign does nothing good for the world and screwing with it does nothing bad. it's just funny (not the names themselves but how the whole thing failed)

Bradgina
Bradgina

 The wonderful day that I have been anxiously waiting for is nearly upon us: when the internet has completely lost all credibility and is delegated to the novelty that it is.

BM
BM

Darn that Al Gore, what has he wrought upon us?

Leanna Alexis
Leanna Alexis

Maybe instead of getting free marketing from the public they should PAY a marketing firm to come up with a name.  See what happens when you expect free crap?  You get hacked and joked.  

jiangyingzi
jiangyingzi

OK, "hip" marketers, the ball's in your court.  Me, I want to see Gushing Granny on store shelves by October.

Denise Shriver Elkins
Denise Shriver Elkins

All they had to do was make it where a moderator had to 'approve' the names being submitted before they were published on the site...............

ck nordstrom
ck nordstrom

You want to be 'cute' (cuz you're infants, after all) start your own web naming protocol. Why do you think its funny or okay to inflict your boredom and limited civility on the rest of the world?  It's not funny, it's just nasty childish behavior.

Tina Harvey
Tina Harvey

 I think you've been mislead. It is funny. It is very funny. Nordstrom? So, you're old and rich?  That's why you don't find it funny.  Do you know what fapple means? I didn't think so...next!

ntmaxwell
ntmaxwell

You take soda-naming contests way too seriously. Lighten up, your Jimmie's are all rustled.

Charades
Charades

Oh internet, you crack me up sometimes with your random shenanigans. 

Erik Huntoon
Erik Huntoon

I found this to be one of the most amusing articles I've read in ages.  I applaud the Internet hooligans for a prank well played.  Once again.. a mega corporation has failed at the Internet.

Tim Meesseman
Tim Meesseman

They haven't failed at all. This created 10x more publicity for them than the poll would have done on its own.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

 Yep, they advertised for a forthcoming product and discovered no one wants it.

amandaLDRN
amandaLDRN

This is what happens when people take themselves or the crap they are trying to sell too seriously!  Practical jokes have always been, they will always be.  Since, practical jokes are now seen as "crimes" when done in the real world, they have moved into the cyber world where there are less consequences.  People take the internet WAY TOO SERIOUSLY! It's very easy to lie on the net, and to get that lie to be taken as fact by established media.  Get over it, you will be lied to online... advertisers and corporations have done this for many years, now everyone can join in the fun! The corporations are mad that they don't hold the market on lies anymore and they are duped as often as everyone else.

Matthew Chaudhry
Matthew Chaudhry

"Fapple" LOL!!

Ruth Raynor
Ruth Raynor

They should totally just pick Fapple. Naive people/children wouldn't know what it meant anyway.

GoldenParachute
GoldenParachute

or they could just take off the 'D' and call it  ewww, nasty!

BenVeritas
BenVeritas

Not the right time for this. Everyone out of work knows they can run some companies better than many current CEOs and run the country better than most politicians and create better films or novels than most of Hollywood's directors  and novelists. People are a surly bunch right now, unsure of which mixture of hostility and get-through-life sense of humor works for them at any given moment.

Lebowski113
Lebowski113

What's sad is something like this SHOULD be something that COULD work. But the ever-growing sea of idiots and jerks populating our planet makes it impossible.

Angie Ellison-Fiscus
Angie Ellison-Fiscus

I am not trying to be confrontational but I have to ask....how is it that huge corporations create toxic foods and drinks, lie to convince us they are safe, take up almost 90% of the market place so we are left w/ few other options but you still view us as the "sea of idiots"?  What I see from this website onslaught of sarcastic replies and humorous jabs at Mtn Dew is people saying "enough already".  People are just tired of being lied to. And however they choose to express that is their personal right, especially when Mtn Dew opens itself up for it on the internet. If you don't want people telling you that they know your product is piss, then don't open yourself up to it. I don't think these people are idiots at all.  In fact, if they don't fall for these tacky and wasteful marketing gimmicks, that makes them far more intelligent than the morons spending the money on these BS ad campaigns. IMO

Alex MacIntyre
Alex MacIntyre

Yes, idiots obviously have the intellect to hack into a site, fix poll results and add banners and pop-ups.

Only the work of a moron.

Ryan Wenzel
Ryan Wenzel

You seem to be what my friends like to refer to as "troll bait."

jgay
jgay

quit crying, it's a harmless joke at the expense of a company that makes a shitty product. maybe people are idiots and jerks but they didn't exactly do any harm. 

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

This sea of idiots and jerks obviously ruined the brilliantly-executed marketing campaign - the nostalgic days of poetic and clever appellations for pristine green-apple flavored soft drinks full of life-giving sugar and preservatives are sadly over.

jrs505050
jrs505050

why would it work? it's so pointless and such a corporate marketing scheme that an overwhelming number of people, many not even working together decided to subvert it. everything that PepsiCo does is about putting as much junk into the mouths of children and making profit. pure and simple. that's why they pay millions of dollars to snowboarders to drink fake mountain dews on their commercial. to get as many children interested in their product as possible.

doodlebug2222
doodlebug2222

Straight out - IF the people in charge, -FOR ONCE- listened to their IT people, this would of never gotten waved into production.

First, IT people, specifically those in the web field already deal with persons such as this on an almost daily basis, and we understand how certain people misuse any available avenue to interactive with a website where there is an immediate posting > in a none monitored environment.

That is to say, if they have IT people that actually use their brains and whose reply to "Can we do this" is a not an automated "yes" response...

Things must be thought through since once posted you cannot simply -snag it back - after you had time to sleep on it. You must think through the pros, cons and of course add in the zest of those skilled enough to give you a headache - as this article is a 'case in point'.

My argument would of been that this is not a cheap high score board, and they should instead do a survey that is screened and whose input does not directly output immediately to the site w/o some measure of screening....

Simps0n
Simps0n

I imagine it's common for companies to put a web form on their page saying "you decide!" only to have that form's submit button connected to nothing and the top names really coming from what the company wanted to be there all along.

BjammindD
BjammindD

Every time I read an article about 4chan, /b/, or the various and sundry social media conntected tentacles the community has, I'm reminded of something from a well known sci-fi novel called "Ender's Game".

When I re-read it recently I was suprised to find the part I had the hardest trouble believing wasn't the technology, massive space battles, elaborate aliens, or even the idea that a child could accidentally commit genocide. Instead, the part I found hardest to accept is that Locke and Demosthenes were able to influence public oppinion by posting on political/social/etc discussion boards, which they use to slowly convince people of their ideals (which eventually leads to Peter/Locke becoming Hegemon of Earth). Given the level of conversation at this point in time, I can only imagine the erudite nature of the future comments.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

 Having read that story when it first came out, and knowing a bit about human nature, I know how easy it is to manipulate people.  It's not convincing anyone of one's position that's important.  It's telling the "puling masses" everything they want to hear no matter how unlikely, improbable or unconstitutional it may be to get them to support you, then using their combined support to force your own agenda on the other powers that be.  All you need to do then is spin it to "prove" it's good for your supporters.

You don't need more of a plan than that.  It's been working in the United States for generations.  Unfortunately, only lately, with the bad schooling and mass communication, has it become apparent that telling the masses what they want to hear won't be sufficient for the masses anymore.  They're expecting these impossible, unlikely and unconstitutional to be brought about and are electing other unenlightened, like-minded individuals to do it.

I don't think Andrew's brother or sister would have much luck today.  People are demanding impossible things and can only reap anarchy, repression and chaos in return.  So in that light, I don't think the sophistication and reasoning level of the posting are going to get any better for quite some time.

ionymous
ionymous

This is why we can't have anything nice.

KB_Corkless
KB_Corkless

Puppies are nice. How 'bout 'Dawg Dew'?

GoldenParachute
GoldenParachute

I think the problem is that people aren't that excited over mountain dew - or any other soft drink. It's just a drink ... people aren't invested in it enough to want to name it; Not many anyway.

I think there is a tendency for companies of all types to buy into their own advertising more than other people do. Kinda of like office policy mandated enthusiasm for what you are selling ... people don't really get exicted over drinking a dew while they are snowboarding, that only happens in the commercials.

Angie Ellison-Fiscus
Angie Ellison-Fiscus

I totally agree with you and was trying to find a shortened way to say basically the same thing but it kept ending up as a novel, Lol. These companies put way too much time and money into stupid ads that don't help them at all, really. First, we all know the product is out there and second, we know it is bad as hell for us but there are people that will drink it anyways and those that don't, won't start just because you put a fun game on the web to let them name your next product.  They just need to stop already.  Either just put your product on the shelf and leave well enough alone or don't. But this money and time wasting thing w/ advertising in ridiculously transparent manners isn't fooling anyone. (well, maybe some people, lol) 

cnnec79
cnnec79

Why, because some of us have a sense of humor? And how is green apple flavored Mountain Dew "nice"? Sounds kinda gross...

Barney Wills
Barney Wills

"Gushing Granny"

i woulda paid for an green apple soda named this...

:(

Tanishab
Tanishab

April implied I'm alarmed that any one able to earn $4878 in a few weeks on the network. have you seen this(Click on menu Home)

Matt Dana
Matt Dana

It's an expression. He's joking.

doodlebug2222
doodlebug2222

It's not that you can't have anything nice - you simply have to have enough experience and to think around the potential pitfalls and issues.

For example, one year I hung my holiday lights around my fence. Bored kids decided to take some scissors to them. The next year, I hung the lights higher - and just out of reach - but low enough so they'd have a pretty rough time trying to teeter on their toes with scissors - trying to grasp the cord and hold it steady while they cut it. The ground there is also fairly marshy, so - they would slowly also be sinking.