Introduction

Competitive advantage refers to the factors that place product higher in the market against its competitors (Pfeffer, 1998). These factors may include color, taste, and reputation among others. If a product costs higher than its alternatives in the market, its competitive advantage ensures that customers continue buying it regardless of rise in price.

The Product

Mountain Dew is a soft drink that is sold to the American market and is owned by PepsiCo. It was invented in the 1940s but the original formula was revised in 1958. There has been increased variety of the product today that diversified from a single variety available in the 1940s (Dick, 2007). The product is a carbonated drink that is appreciated mainly by the youth aged between 12 and 24 years. Its high level of caffeine makes it ideal for the young people who need more time studying and having fun. Its citrus flavor and energizing ability ensures that it is unrivalled in the market. Its main domestic competitor is Coca-cola (Glenn, 1996). Furthermore, it is a well known brand and has been among the most widely taken drinks in the world. It has many brands making it available in different tastes and appetizing colors.

Competitive Advantage Analysis

The main competitive advantage feature that Mountain Dew possesses is the caffeine level it contains. It has the highest level of caffeine among its competitors with 54 mgs in a 12-ounce serving, as compared to 38.4mgs in Pepsi-Cola. A cup of coffee has about 240mgs. Therefore, those who like Mountain Dew do not find any other drink as a replacement and would no care about the cost, but the stimulation they get from the drink. The young youths who need less sleeping time prefer this drink to any other of its competitors from within PepsiCo and outside the company. This further keeps its consumers alert despite not having enough sleep at night.

Table 1: The Top 10 Carbonated Soft Drinks Brands in the US in 2011 by volume

  • Coke
  • Diet Coke
  • Pepsi-Cola
  • Mountain Dew (PepsiCo)
  • Dr Pepper (Dr Pepper Snapple)
  • Sprite
  • Diet Pepsi¬†
  • Diet Mountain Dew (PepsiCo)
  • Fanta
  • Diet Dr Pepper (Dr Pepper Snapple)

Source: http://www.adbrands.net/sectors/sector_softdrinks.htm

Table 2: The Top 10 Carbonated Soft Drinks Manufacturers in the US in 2011 by volume

  • Coca-Cola
  • PepsiCo
  • Dr Pepper Snapple
  • Cott Corp
  • National Beverage
  • Monster Beverage Co
  • Red Bull
  • Big Red Soda
  • Rockstar
  • private label & other

Source: http://www.adbrands.net/sectors/sector_softdrinks.htm

PepsiCo is the second largest company in the US in terms of volume sold (table 2). It has a number of soft drinks that feature in the beverage top-ten chart as shown in table 1.  Mountain Dew is the second most popular soft drink within PepsiCo after Pepsi-Cola, and is fourth among all drinks. This can be termed as a huge rise of the drink that is only fifty years old. Coke which is its main home competitor is much older.

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