Monday, May 9, 2011

The Return of Mountain Dew: Pitch Black



There is some sort of weird irony in today's post about Mountain Dew: Pitch Black coming directly after yesterdays post, in which I basically said that Summer is not my favorite time of year. I'm trying. I'm really, really trying not to get too anxious for Halloween. I want to enjoy summer. I got my garden planted. I've been on bike rides, went on walks and have generally started to enjoy the outdoors again. I don't really want to sit around and mark the days off the calender until October 31st... not yet anyway. But it's tough when I walk into a store and see this:

Mountain Dew: Pitch Black Returns

Leave it to Pepsi to come along and throw a gigantic grape flavored wrench into my plans and releases Mountain Dew: Pitch Black smack dab at the beginning of summer.You know what this means? Once again I'm stuck wishing for falling leaves and candy corn at the complete wrong time of year. All because some store has started to sell a product that very clearly belongs in October, five months too early. Pitch Black is one of those seasonal products that, while it has never officially been a Halloween Themed Beverage, was only ever available around Halloween. It's one of those subtle marketing jobs that hits you on a subconscious level. If you mentally associate a product with a time of year, you're bound to purchase more of it with the understanding that once the season is over... so too will your ability to purchase said item. Clearly, I should work in some marketing firm. More so to the point here, just have a look at that package... the dark colors, the neon greens, even the name itself Pitch Black just sounds like something that is down with the devil. If this isn't a Halloween themed soda pop, then I don't know what is.

If I had to compare Pitch Black to something else on the market it would have to be Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. They are marketed in almost the exact same manor as nobody has ever officially came out and said Cranberry Splash is strictly a  holiday drink. But when you only release a product November through January, with a red and green label that tastes like Cranberry's.... you are pretty much implying this shit is a limited edition Christmas drink.

Mountain Dew: Pitch Black II
That same concept applies to Pitch Black. No, it's not technically something you can only drink in October. But it sure feels much more at home during the one time of year in which its socially alright to openly practice witchcraft. The first time we saw this devilish soft drink was all the way back in 2004 when it was released right around October and only lasted for a short amount of time. It would return a year later in 2005 as Pitch Black II. Once again released during Halloween and quickly vanished off store shelves, because you clearly cannot sell something named Pitch Black during Christmas. As that is just preposterous. The soda would return for a third and final time during Halloween of 2006 only this time it was re-re-released as Pitch Black Freeze. Freeze was only available for purchase from Slurpee machines at 7-11 gas stations. This all looked like the end of Pitch Black and for a while, it was. The drink was a novel concept, a beverage that you could only drink during Halloween. Halloween being many things, but if there is one thing its not, it's as easily marketable as Christmas. You can shove "holiday" in front of just about anything and its perfectly acceptable. Halloween, on the other hand, one must pick and choose which products are allowed to frighten children for one month out of the year.

I briefly mentioned in a prior article that one of the things I enjoyed the most about summer time is that for some reason soda companies feel compelled to release the most random concoctions and call them soft drinks. None of it is ever really that good, but I like the idea of knowing that I have seventeen different flavors of Mountain Dew on the market to choose from. It's sort of my own personal safety net knowing that if I choose, I could find a cranberry banana lime soda on the shelf. I'm always compelled to try anything that is labeled "Limited Time Only" ... because I would hate to live in some future world where I one could have had a cranberry banana lime soda, but chose not to drink it. If I don't drink these promotional sodas, I'm basically letting the terrorists win. We didn't kill Bin Laden so I could not drink Pepsi's latest unholy combination of artificial fruit flavoring and carbonated water.

With the knowledge in hand that at some point this summer, I would probably find at least one bizarre brand of soda on the shelf... I'm always sort of expecting to find something. I wasn't expecting that something to be Pitch Black. It seems so random that this little soft drink, released in fall 2004 would manage not only a sequel to itself, but a Slurpee version and a re-issue seven years after its initial run. But why now? What is the logic in releasing a soda that's only ever been available in October, at the beginning of summer? For something so very painted with the colors of Halloween, it doesn't make any since for it to be here in  May.

Here is the real kicker, truth be told I really don't even like Pitch Black. It's a grape flavored soda and I generally hate grape flavored anything. Actually, you know what...I take that back, I don't hate Pitch Black... I love the concept of the drink. I love the marketing of the drink. I love the fact that someone at Pepsi decided Halloween was important enough to warrant its own seasonal beverage. I've always been bummed that they never stuck with it year in and year out. But I really wish it tasted like something else other than grape. I love Pitch Black but just not enough to drink it. I have an odd relation with soft drinks sometimes.

So while I don't particularly like the drink, it pleases me very much to see Pitch Black getting another limited run in the stores. I only wish that they could have held off and released it during Halloween time. As it is a much more fitting time of year to drink something so clearly down with the devil. But beggars cannot be choosey and there is no use crying over Slim Whitman, so let's take what we can get when we can get it. I completely understand that its May. I get that its currently 83 degrees outside. But damn it, the return of Pitch Black to store shelves, even in this limited run, this is a clear cut victory for the month of October and all things orange, black, and unholy. So thank you Pepsi. Thank you for bringing back Pitch Black, let's give it a proper run this October.

Update: May 18th, 2011 -- I had to search through three different gas stations before I found one that actually had Pitch Black in stock. This means a couple of things. First off, it must be selling really well. Secondly, Pepsi wasn't lying when they said "limited time offer" of the availability of this drink! Don't give up your searches folks, Pitch Black is still available on the market. I'm drinking one right now. You might just have to look extra hard to find one. Let's all keep our fingers crossed... I have a feeling that this limited run won't be the last we see of Pitch Black!

Update: May 24th, 2011 -- I was at the local grocery store and seen that the Pepsi guy stocking up one of the shelves and you'll never guess what I found. Twelve Packs of Mountain Dew Pitch Black! What a joyous occasion, indeed! In all its limited edition glory, this is the first time that I've found any of the stuff in can form. I must say the cans are fantastic. Here is photographic evidence:


These cans almost put the plastic 20 ounce bottles to shame. Which is saying quite a bit because the plastic bottles are cool in there own right. These cans, these suckers are a work of art. Side note, this is the first photo that I've posted to the website with my new digital camera. Seems fitting that the first true HD photograph that I put online is of limited edition cans of Mountain Dew: Pitch Black.

9 comments:

  1. Now I have to be on the lookout for the new Pitch Black. That's awesome! I only had a couple of bottles of this stuff when it first came out. When it come to grape soda, Welch's is the best there is, but I can't find it readily available in my area(I have to drive more than 2 hours down state to find it). And I'm with you on buying sodas that say limited edition. My rational is, it's not going to be around forever, so why not?

    Good to see you writing again, I was starting to worry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Jason! Glad to see your still here 8-) I didn't plan on taking that long away from the site. Promise it won't happen again.

    Definitely take a look for Pitch Black, it's part of a limited run that Pepsi is doing this summer. It's only going to be available for seven weeks, I believe. It's been selling REALLY well around here. I got the last bottle of it yesterday. If it sells like this everyplace, I'm thinking it actually might make a comeback around Halloween.

    Thanks for the comments man!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would love if someone sent me one. I live in Washington, and have not seen it anywhere. I keep looking in stores, calling places, and nothing. I don't know what's going on, but it would be so great if I could have one, just one, and my thirst would be satisfied....My PO is.
    PO Box 195
    Littlerock, WA 98556, and my name is Shawna. Please help me have this amazing soda again

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the comments Shawna! Best of luck in the search for "Pitch Black". Since the writing of this article it has become increasingly harder to find it where I live. Fingers crossed that Pepsi gives it a full release come October time!

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