Mountain Dew, a brand of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc., and DR1 Racing, Los Angeles, announced a global partnership featuring the top drone racing pilots in the world. According to the companies, this marks the first branded partnership and national broadcast for the burgeoning sport.
Headlining the series, the “DR1 Invitational presented by Mountain Dew” will air this August in a one-hour broadcast special. DR1 also will be the first truly live drone series to stream globally on Twitch, a social video platform and community for gamers, the companies say.
In addition to the partnership with DR1, Mountain Dew also unveiled its new, high-octane TV and digital spot "Drone Hunting" to anchor the second year of the brand's global Do The Dew marketing campaign, taking inspiration from the brand belief, "it doesn't exist until you do it," the company says.
"For more than 20 years, 'Do The Dew’ has been much more than a slogan for Dew Nation," said Greg Lyons, senior vice president of marketing for Mountain Dew, in a statement. "It's about taking inspiration from the world and people around you and creating an exhilarating damn good time. With drone racing just now beginning to bubble up as a sport, and our partnership with DR1 Racing, we saw our 'Drone Hunting' TV creative as an example of how technology impacts culture, giving way to new ideas."
Combining motocross, hunting and drone racing, Mountain Dew creates an exhilarating never-before-seen sport – Drone Hunting – that now exists within a new global TV and digital commercial, the company says. Directed by Rupert Wyatt and filmed in the forests of Casablanca, Chile, Drone Hunting is a mind-bending reverie, created for the members of Dew Nation who continuously seek opportunities and excitement where others don't.
This year's "Do The Dew" creative is running in multiple countries across four continents and digitally debuted in May and will be on broadcast in the United States in June, headlining a year-long brand campaign that will reach Dew Nation by way of TV, digital, social media, radio, print and out-of-home channels, the company says.
The “DR1 Invitational presented by Mountain Dew” will showcase 12 of the top drone racing pilots in the world as they compete for the title at the iconic Sepulveda Dam in Los Angeles this summer, the companies say. Pilots, who control drones from the top of the dam, will face down a gauntlet of environmental and man-made obstacles as they fly their drones at speeds of more than 80 mph while spectators watch on from above. Over the course of two days, the race will be broken up into heats, qualifiers and finals, they add.
Additional PepsiCo brands supporting the “DR1 Invitational presented by Mountain Dew” include Amp Energy and Doritos, the company says.
"We have seen the popularity of drone racing grow exponentially this past year, and we are excited to bring our own style and format to the sport," said Brad Foxhoven, founder of DR1 Racing and producer of the event. "Part of our excitement centers around the 'firsts' that we are bringing to the sport, including a TV broadcast partner, worldwide live streaming through Twitch and the support of several global brands."
In addition to DR1, Mountain Dew also signed and sponsored a drone racing pilot: DR1 drone racing pilot Tommy "Ummagawd" Tibajia from Huntington Beach, Calif. Tibajia, largely considered to be one of the biggest names in drone racing, has racked up an impressive amount of achievements in the past year, including 1st place in the Drone Nationals in 2015 and 1st place in IDRA California Cup 2015, among others, the company says.
"From the first time I put on the goggles, I thought this is exactly what a super hero probably feels like, and I continue to race for the rush," Tibajia said in a statement. "I'm thrilled to be representing such an iconic brand as the first Dew drone racing pilot, and to be racing on their behalf at the inaugural DR1 Invitational."
DR1 also launched a channel on the streaming platform Twitch at Twitch.tv/DR1Racing. The DR1 channel will stream the races live, giving fans a first-person view from the drones traveling at high speeds through myriad obstacles, the company says. The DR1 Twitch channel currently is live streaming two nights a week with a variety of content supporting DR1 and the drone-racing lifestyle and culture, it adds.
"Drone racing is super fun to watch and it's growing like crazy," said Jimmy Whisenhunt, partnerships manager of media organizations for Twitch. "Because DR1 will be the first truly live drone racing event broadcast on Twitch, it taps into the DNA of our platform and should be quite the viewing experience."