The Ultimate 'Halo 3' Accessory: Mountain Dew
Pepsi Plots First Beverage Based on Video Game, Ties
to Hot Xbox 360 Title
April 16, 2007
"We literally played ['Halo 2'] for three days
straight without sleeping," said 21-year-old Russ
Petrick of Woodland Park, Colo., who stayed awake by
chugging Mountain Dew. "It has 54 milligrams of
caffeine. You drink enough of that, it will keep you
That's what the Pepsi-Cola North America brand is
counting on as it readies a red-hued,
citrus-cherry-flavored, limited-edition Mountain Dew
that will carry the name of the much-anticipated "Halo
3" for Microsoft's Xbox 360. Touted as the first soft
drink created for and co-branded with a video game,
the new Dew is positioned as "game fuel."
Images of the drink on service-and-repair site
Llama.com show a 20-ounce bottle with the "Halo 3"
logo and an image of its central character, Master
Chief, along with the words "Game Fuel" and "limited
edition." According to a bulletin-board post, the
drink contains 48 milligrams of caffeine per eight
ounces, for a total of 120 milligrams of caffeine per
bottle. The post has shot around gaming fan sites,
including pickup on Kotaku.com and one of software
producer Bungie's own fan forums. A spokeswoman for
Microsoft declined to comment.
Pepsi didn't offer many details either. "Gaming is an
important component in the marketing efforts for
Mountain Dew," a spokeswoman said. "Our goal is to go
beyond traditional advertising by creating initiatives
that make the brand an integral part of the gaming
experience. We have some exciting programs coming this
But according to one bottler, Pepsi expects the
product to be "huge." "The college age is a big market
for us," he said. The "Halo 3" Dew is expected to be
released in August for about three months.
"To be able to tie in with 'Halo' is a coup for
Mountain Dew," said Mark Allenbach,
director-interactive media and games at Frank N. Magid
Associates. "It is considered the killer app for
Microsoft, period. ... There is significant cachet
with any product associated with it. If you came to me
and said, 'I have soda and want to put it with a
game,' I don't think it gets much better than putting
it with 'Halo 3.'"
Microsoft and Bungie will release three editions of
"Halo 3" for Xbox 360 this fall. Combined sales of
"Halo" and "Halo 2" exceeded 10.5 million, and "Halo
3" is expected to sell between 2.75 million and 3
million units in its first two months, according to
Nick Williams, analyst and marketing manager for Fox
Interactive Media's IGN GamerMetrics, which tracks
gamer behavior and interests on enthusiast websites.
Of the top franchises on IGN sites over the past five
years, "Halo" -- sold only on the still-young Xbox
system -- ranks No. 5 behind such behemoths as "Grand
Theft Auto," "The Legend of Zelda" and "Final
Fantasy." Based on wish-list tracking, "Halo 3" ranks
No.1 among 2007 titles in awareness and purchase
intent for the past two years, Mr. Williams said.
"The marriage of 'Halo 3' and Mountain Dew seems a
perfect match," he said. Mountain Dew has sponsored
gaming events, and "as a brand it's done a good job of
becoming synonymous with gaming."
PepsiCo has put motion-picture properties on its
beverage brands and cups, but not video-game
characters, despite a long alignment with gaming. In
2005, the marketer gave away nearly 10,000 Xbox 360
systems in its "Every 10 minutes" cap promotion, where
a winner received a console every 10 minutes for nine
weeks before the systems were available in stores.
Mountain Dew cross-branded with Microsoft in a 2004
sweepstakes for a limited-edition Xbox game console
available to consumers by collecting points. The
neon-green box featured the Mountain Dew logo.
Mountain Dew also was the official soft-drink sponsor
of the now defunct E3 gaming convention, where it
first claimed its "game fuel" position.