Film Producer, Soft Drink Marketer, It’s All The Same Street

Newsweek: In “First Descent,” a new snowboarding documentary that opens in limited release this week, mountains are everywhere. You’ll have to look a little harder to spot the Mountain Dew.
But not too hard. Mountain Dew, after all, didn’t just pay to have the soft drink in the movie. It financed the entire project, which follows five snowboarding icons. (A rep won’t comment on the budget.) Experts call it “branded entertainment.” How better to control screen time for a product?
But John Galloway, VP of sports and media for Pepsi-Cola, says that less is more in this film. Pepsi-Cola, which owns Mountain Dew, wants to build buzz by association. “Our goal is for this to be the seminal movie of snowboarding—we didn’t want to go overboard with the product,” he says. Product shots are subtle—a snowboarder’s helmet, for example, shows the logo.
Still, media experts aren’t so keen on the idea of a company’s bankrolling a documentary, with say over the final cut. “It’s like going back to the 17th century, where you had to please the patron,” says Mary-Lou Galician, head of media analysis at Arizona State University.
Watch the trailer on

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Dear Mary Lou,
    Whaa? 17th Century? Have you ever heard of Hollywood?
    If, by patron you mean customer, well, then, you might be on to something…