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Mello Yello

Securing critical market share. For a billion dollar beverage company .

Coca-Cola sought to gain valuable market share from its biggest rival in the caffeinated citrus category, Mountain Dew.

That meant targeting the ‘Citrus Heartland’ of America and speaking directly to the hard-working blue collar consumer within it. Our brief was therefore to transform perceptions around the existing product range, enabling Coca-Cola to disrupt the category within a limited timeframe and budget.

Key to being able to do so, however, lay also in helping Mello Yello’s team better understand how to engage and motivate the core demographic concerned. Above all, it was necessary for us to help them realize that a more authentic and mature, multi-channel campaign approach was required than that which they had anticipated. Ultimately, we enabled Coca-Cola to re-evaluate how this project could be brought to life more effectively, in addition to its wider commercial potential.

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Andy Johnson / Partner
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We recognized early on that the team at Coca-Cola had a limited awareness of how their key demographic thought and behaved, as well as what could be achieved commercially with this product. Understanding this, we set out to help them develop a new level of awareness for who they were targeting, as well as a more holistic attitude around how to re-establish the brand.

How? Every audience has their own unique aspirations and dreams, Mello Yello’s is no exception. We knew that to succeed in capturing the imaginations of this misunderstood consumer, a truly authentic identity and associated marketing strategy was required, sidestepping industry clichés and assumptions.
Andy Johnson / Partner


Challenging assumptions

The Mello Yello brand had to deliver at every level. Facing a competitor that owned more than 85% of the caffeinated citrus market meant speaking to customers clearly and effectively, far beyond the supermarket shelf alone.

Having previously worked closely with products that targeted the same demographic, United knew that mainstream brands commonly misperceived how the blue-collar consumer thinks and behaves. In Coca-Cola’s case, this was reflected in the simplicity of the brief in the early stages, with its emphasis on ‘packaging’.

To really help the brand succeed, we knew we had to offer our client a deeper, more informed take on how to speak to this often misunderstood consumer, and our first step in doing so was to demonstrate what they really cared about and the triggers that embodied their world.

Considering environment, culture, lifestyle and everything in between, this led to a recognition across the board that, not only should Mello Yello’s messaging be more carefully considered, but the go-to market activity could be extended to include advertising, POS, sponsorship and experiential, delivered as a 360° campaign.

Working closely with the Design and Brand Management teams, we embedded this understanding, developing the attitude needed across the business to establish a more meaningful brand-building process, delivered in the most commercially effective ways.



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Having agreed upon our strategic direction, it was vital to create a brand experience that would be effective through every channel.

The target audience was a hard one to win trust from, so authenticity was key. To really engage with the beating heart of America’s workers, the campaign had to be integrated and holistic to really demonstrate true understanding of, and an alignment to, that world.

Our ‘MY’ strategy did just that, with an approach that enabled us to elevate the design overhaul into a complete campaign, and gave us the tools to deliver the reborn brand to market through more channels, transcending simple can design.

That’s not to underestimate the importance of the can itself. We overhauled the dated and sedate Mello Yello identity into the striking new, abbreviated ‘MY’ monogram, designed to connect visually with the more masculine demographic. Our thinking being that this bold, industrial feel and call-to-action would not only be instantly recognizable at retail, but would underpin a powerful integrated campaign: this is MY world.

Building on the MY design, the bold cipher logo became the anchor point we needed to link to wider campaign work - specifically ambassador partnerships. With our help, Coca Cola identified 10 key ambassadors, and through these affiliations, the brand was associated with top influencers in key sports (such as hunting and motorsports), with fan bases directly aligned to the drink’s target audience.



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We went onto develop a marketing program that looked way beyond the can.

This meant ensuring the launch and ongoing marketing activities were perfectly executed through every media, including sponsorship, in-store, outdoor, social and traditional media.

As an example, this activity included the development of licensed partnership initiatives with brands closely aligned to Mello Yello, such as Realtree, the number one resource for hunting camo, and NHRA , the National Hot Rod Association, with whom Mello Yello have had a long relationship, and who remain the main sponsorship vehicle to this day.

In such instances We managed every aspect of the partnership related to the MY Identity. That, in the NHRA’s case, meant overseeing all activity between NHRA and MY for 25 races every year, including the creation of track graphics, 18-wheeler truck liveries, team apparel, fan merchandise, sponsorship and Mello Yello/NHRA brand experiences.

Our role evolved to be one of supporting the various teams across Coca-Cola’s design, brand and marketing teams and those responsible for activation and growing market share. United provided internal communication collateral including brand books, educational and promotional materials.

Ultimately, we demonstrated to Coca-Cola just what was possible with the right insight, ideas and audience understanding. With purchase intent up by 25% and brand recognition rising 40% we took Mello Yello from being Mountain Dew’s meaningless rival to a true contender in the category.

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Mello Yello

Building on the success of the newly rebranded “MY” brand logo.

United was asked by Coca-Cola to redesign the official Mello Yello NHRA partnership logo and to develop a new design that would align perfectly with the new ‘MY’ brand-mark’s new attitude. 

Drawing inspiration from the NHRA's top fuel division, United created a bold and graphic badge that incorporated the ‘MY’ and NHRA logos within a holding icon that represents the engine and exhausts of a top fuel dragster.

From the trackside sponsorship sites, tents, and trucks to the driver's racing suits, United extended the design across the entire NHRA experience. In developing and extending the ‘MY’ brand language to incorporate all of these elements, United created a credible, authentic partnership logo that delivers a truly immersive 360° Mello Yello/NHRA brand experience.

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Mello Yello
+ Realtree

A unique brand partnership brings to life a long-forgotten soda icon.

Coca-Cola partnered with United to reinvigorate the fortunes of a classic soda from their extended portfolio. The challenge: to once again make Mello Yello credible, exciting and truly reflective of the ‘blue collar’ male audience that lies at the brand's core.

The Coca-Cola brand team brilliantly engineered a partnership between Mello Yello and the Realtree brand. United, working closely with the brand and design teams, developed a powerful limited edition 360° campaign that targeted all touch-points for the iconic brand.

Authenticity was key to the success of this new project. In creating an advertising campaign featuring David Blanton, renowned outdoorsman and presenter of Realtree Outdoors (TNN), United successfully captured the essence of the outdoor world. 

Bold, rugged and unashamedly American, the new Mello Yello tagline ‘This is MY World’ speaks to the passion, pride and sense of adventure that embodies the Mello Yello consumer and the Mello Yello brand.


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