Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment – Brand Questions

Last week a fabulous video of two men doing a Bellagio-like display using Diet Coke and Mentos was released on Eepybird.com. Not only did visits to Eepybird.com increase substantially, from off the radar to a rank of 25 in the Entertainment – Multimedia category, but searches for ‘diet coke and mentos’ and other related terms did as well. The chart below shows keyword breadth for ‘diet coke’ and ‘mentos’ for the past year. Keyword breadth is the incidence of the number of search queries containing a specific keyword as a percentage of all searches,

Share of US Internet Searches Containing term Diet Coke or Mentos
Keyword breadth for ‘mentos’ increased by 142% for the week ending June 10, 2006 versus the previous week, reaching its highest point in the past year. Keyword breadth for ‘diet coke’ also increased by 34% in the same week. You can also see from the chart that the two keywords were experienced corresponding peaks in January and April, as people across the country have been creating their own Diet Coke and Mentos experiment videos, like this one, which involves putting Diet Coke and Mentos in a toilet.

The Wall Street Journal published an article today about how Mentos and Diet Coke are approaching this phenomenon, and it demonstrates two different approaches to brand marketing. Mentos is grateful for the publicity, as it has been valued at $10 million, and is considering a marketing deal with one of the creators of the Eepybird videos. Diet Coke, on the other hand, feels that the videos don’t fit with its brand personality, and prefers that people drink Diet Coke rather than perform experiments with it.

Neither brand appears to be paying much attention to search engine marketing in this instance. While there is a higher volume of searches on the phrase ‘diet coke and mentos’ than just ‘mentos,’ as shown below, the Mentos site does not appear in paid or organic listings for the query on the four major search engines (Google, Yahoo! Search, MSN, and Ask). Is this a missed opportunity, or should Mentos not take part in the conversation? What about Diet Coke? According to the WSJ article, the experiment doesn’t work with Diet Pepsi, because it has less carbon dioxide than Diet Coke. Nevertheless, we can see below that people are searching on ‘pepsi and mentos.’ What do you think? Should brand marketers enter the picture around the buzz of user-generated content?

Search Terms Suggestions for Mentos