In 2006 at the height of the Web 2.0 explosion, as new acronyms were flying and buzz words abound, we saw the release of one of the most successful virals ever to grace the Web. As we see in this article, two years on, the Mentos/Diet Coke geyser clip is still alive and kicking…
Inspired by a friend who told them of the explosive reactions that can take place when acids and bases mix, two creatives, Steven Voltz and Fritz Grobe, from a little known agency EepyBird.com set about experimenting with a range of household products looking for the ultimate in combustible consumer product partenrships. Eventually they literally struck gold when they combined a bottle of Diet Coke, with the minty sweet ‘Mentos’. The resulting viral video that was filmed consisted of a feast of fantastically elaborate experiments, with fountains of exploding Coca Cola gushing in time to classical music.
The viral was an instant mega hit, receiving 10m hits and earning the pair $50,000, and a flurry of subsequent copycat videos flooded the net. Interestingly, the big brands involved kept a distance, denying sponsorship and only releasing carefully worded statements as to the fun nature of their products. Sensibly, in 2006, the marketing directors of both Coca Cola, and Perfetti Van Melle (makers of Mentos), were quoted to remark that the very source of the viral’s success was its underground status, and that the commercial influence would inevitably signal its downfall. Clearly, it was much better to freely capitalise on the consistent free promotion that was spiralling out of control amongst the expanding online video community. Since the release of the videos, Mentos claim that their sales are now up 20%, and estimate their worth at around $10m of free promotion a year.
Subsequently, both brands have moved to support the craze, featuring campaigns and funding new videos on both of their websites, but the user-generated feel has not gone away. Two years on, The Daily Mail has reported a new world record. At the University of Leuven, Belgium, 1,300 students simultaneously dropped Mentos mints in to 1,360 bottles of Diet Coke, the biggest Coke geyser ever measured, smashing the previous record of 973 bottles measured in the US.