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Publication Date: Friday, March 29, 2002

City may change name to 'Mountain Dew' City may change name to 'Mountain Dew' (March 29, 2002)@12subhead:Sale of naming rights could net $38 million over 10 years

By Bruce Karney

April 1:The Voice has learned that the city council is considering a proposal from PepsiCo to change our city's name from "Mountain View" to "Mountain Dew. "

Mountain Dew is PepsiCo's brand of citrus-flavored soft drink. Pepsi's connection with the city is already well established through the "Pepsi Music Festival at Shoreline Amphitheater," which the company has sponsored since the late 1980's.

The council first received the proposal in December, and secret negotiations have been underway ever since. According to sources at City Hall, PepsiCo is proposing a signing bonus of $8 million, plus a royalty of $3 million a year for the next 10 years.

At the end of that time, the contract would be renegotiated, and the city would have the right to reclaim its current name. The name change could come as early as this November, when Mountain View will celebrate its centennial.

No member of the city council was willing to speak to reporters about the proposal, but the Voice believes it is likely to be approved, given the huge budget crunch that has hit all Silicon Valley cities since the dot-com bubble burst.

"It's too early to say exactly what will happen," says City Manager Kevin Dewgan, "but we are intrigued by the opportunity to link our city's name to this well-known brand. Mountain Dew is an exciting, youth-oriented product. Because of its high level of caffeine, it is popular with software developers and others who need to stay alert during the 14-hour workdays that are a defining element of the Mountain View _ excuse me, Mountain Dew _ lifestyle. "

The Voice contacted several individuals to learn if any opposition is likely to develop. Attorney Gary Wesley said "It's news to me, but I'm sure the council will make the right decision. As always, I have complete faith in them."

Lawrence Vallandigham, leader of the "No on N" campaign, said he was fine with the idea, and would not object as long as neither "Home" nor "Depot" was part of the new name.

This would not be the first time a city or state has changed its name for commercial reasons. In 1950 the town of Hot Springs, NM changed its name to Truth or Consequences to advertise a popular radio show. In 1958 the Sandwich Islands changed its name to the Hawaiian Islands in a tie-in with Hawaiian Punch fruit drink, and a year later Hawaii became the 50th state in the union.

Mountain Dew has been a Pepsi brand since 1964. Its name derives from a Southern slang term for illegal moonshine whiskey. When Mountain Dew was first marketed nationally in the mid-60's, its commercials featured hillbilly cartoon characters and the phrase "Yahoo Mountain Dew, it'll tickle yer innards!" By 1973, the slogan had become "Put a little yahoo in your life!" In 1979, the slogan was revised to "Reach for the sun, reach for Mountain Dew. "

"It's remarkable that Mountain Dew's early marketing slogans recognized both Sun and Yahoo, two of this area's most successful companies, before they had even been founded," says Dewgan." This really is a match made in heaven."

The owner of the popular Tied House brewery and restaurant said he is considering converting the operation from a brew pub to a Dew Pub, no matter what the city council decides.

"Alcohol consumption is declining among young working adults, and caffeine consumption is way up. Mountain Dew has a heck of a caffeine kick. We'll be the first restaurant in Northern California to manufacture our own soft drinks right on the premises. Customers will be able to get the freshest possible Mountain Dew on draft. Believe me, it tastes much better than the canned version, and costs way less than those incredibly overpriced lattes and espressos the coffee houses churn out. "

Further news on this rapidly developing story will appear in next year's April Fool's edition of the Voice.

Bruce Karney is president of the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association, and a connoisseur of fine soft drinks


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