« December 2007 »

Memo to Mountain Dew: YEW ARE DEWMB.

Like a longtime alcoholic, years of daily exposure to stupidity has raised my tolerance to the point where it takes a massive dosage to even get me to notice these days. Which is why I was surprised by my immediate, visceral hatred of the new Mountain Dew commercial.

I mean, Mountain Dew ads have been very, very stupid for a very, very long time. They practically invented the application of "extreme" imagery to otherwise non-extreme products. To top their legacy would take a nigh-Herculean effort, which is apparently how we ended up with "DEWmocracy".

Thanks to special forced-interaction technology I licensed from those Facebook ads, I can tell you're already cringing at their branded neologism. You're probably imagining some horrific 2008 election tie-in where soda drinkers can vote for their favorite sickly-sweet Dew variant, while behind the scenes, Diebold makes sure whichever syrup they've warehoused the most of comes in first.

HAH. The Mountain Dew marketing department scoffs at your underestimation of their collective shittiness for a good half-hour before finally realizing that it's not actually a compliment. Because what they actually came up with is so much worse. ACTUAL HORRIFYING PREMISE TIME!

"Corporate Barons rule the city with an iron-fist, but a thirst for change is in the air. As a “Seeker,” you have the chance to return choice to the people. To do so you must embrace adventure, face your destiny, and help create the next Mountain Dew."

OK, first of all, who the fuck hyphenates "iron-fist"? And secondly, I'd like to officially congratulate Mountain Dew Livewire on its demotion to second place on the list of Mountain Dew products that make me want to vomit. The Pepsi corporation is going to provide me with the interactive experience of fighting against oppressive corporate overlords? That's just a brazen disregard of the very existence of irony. It's a slap in the face with a white-glove, challenging satire to a duel.

That would be bad enough, except that, apparently confronted with the corporate implications of their premise, they decided to mix in urban fantasy elements to distract the caffeinated pseudorebels visiting the site. Either that, or they handed the whole thing off to a developer on a Friday, and the developer came back after a weekend of weed and an Avatar: The Last Airbender marathon:

"To succeed, you will need all of your cunning and strength. Each Chamber is blocked by a Guardian and ruled by a Master, epic creatures of adventure and deception. There are enemies to fight, lessons to learn, and tools to earn – like a 2-sided battle axe or a coral divining rod to point the way."

No, really. In a move that could in no way, shape, or form go horribly, horribly wrong, the creators of DEWmocracy are suggesting that the two best tools for countering an oppressive, authoritarian corporate regime are a bottle of slightly customized sugar water and a BATTLE AXE. And while that might be the recipe for the greatest Gallagher II show ever, it's not a recipe for freedom.

Which, in another hilarious repudiation of obvious irony, the Dew people make utterly clear in their FAQ. So don't even think about repurposing DEWmicracy's copyrighted marketing imagery for your own use. Battle axe good, Photoshop bad.

"Q: Can I download any of the artwork from the chambers? A: We appreciate your interest in the rich backgrounds and characters of the Chambers, but this mythological world only comes to life within your journey – and in your mind. Of course, feel free to explore these worlds again and again."

Yeah, see, it's only Pepsico's commitment to the artistic integrity of their immersive interactive experience that prevents them from making their art available for your offline enjoyment. Their mythological world only comes to life within your journey? I'd wonder what the screaming fuck that meant even if it WASN'T about soda. But it is. About soda. The mythological journey to defeat the evil Pancreas on your way to the promised land of Oddly-Colored Urine. It's one part World of Warcraft, one part Rock The Vote, and 40 parts high-fructose corn syrup.