Seems like Pepsi’s the first on 2012’s PR Crisis list.

According to reports from the Madison County Record and Huffington Post, in order to block a lawsuit by Ronald Ball, an Illinois man claiming he became sick after drinking a can of Mountain Dew that contained a dead mouse, Pespi’s attorneys cited expert testimony that the mouse “would have dissolved (and become a jelly-like substance) long before Ball ever had the chance to drink it.”

The story has gone viral, getting picked up all over the Internet, with headlines like Gizmodo”s “There’s Flame Retardant in Mountain Dew,” and “Why You’d Never Know There Was a Mouse in Your Soda,”  “If You Gave a Mouse a Mountain Dew” by the Seattle Post, and “Pepsi Says Mountain Dew Can Dissolve Mouse Carcasses” by the Atlantic Wire.

Although the claim was originally made in 2009 , the story about the mouse has flown under most consumer’s radars; now, it seems likely that jokes comparing Mountain Dew to battery acid will persist for years to come.

While the expert testimony may prevent the company from paying a $50,000 judgement, in the long run, the damage done to the brand reputation and image will cost Pepsi exponentially more in lost sales, PR expenses – and maybe even reformulation.

I see a new, improved and “healthier” Mountain Dew in our future.. DEW you?

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