With many inside businesses shut down — everything from bowling alleys to restaurants to movie theaters — during spring and early summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people decided to spend their leisure time outside.
Some for the first time ever.
Fishing license sales surged more than 40% in some states, as some learned how rewarding it can be to have fun and take a breath of fresh air all at once.
Recognizing what a great thing it was, Mountain Dew did something remarkable.
They picked up part of the tab.
The company, whose iconic soft drinks have been helping folks keep cool outdoors for 80 years, allotted $100,000 to reimburse people for their 2020 hunting and fishing permits. Applications for the program came in so fast the entire 100 grand was exhausted in just five hours.
It worked so well Mountain Dew decided to offer an addition $100K, this time accepting 100 permit applications a day for 50 days with chosen applicants receiving $20 toward their hunting and/or fishing licenses.
They had no trouble finding applicants for that second round of a program they called the MTN DEW Outdoor Stimulus either.
Was it a marketing ploy? Sure.
They certainly didn’t offer the program hoping fewer people would drink Mountain Dew. But it was also a way for them to give back to the loyal followers they refer to as “Dew Nation” during a time when most of the world seems to be taking things away.
Perhaps because the first leg of the project went so well, Mountain Dew has now gone a step further with a program called “Claim the Outdoors,” featuring prizes that are out of this world.
To enter, all you have to do is scan the QR code at a retail outlet or visit DewClaimTheOutdoors.com. Then, go on social media and share a picture or video of how you #ClaimtheOutdoors.
If you want to enter, you’d better hurry. The sweepstakes ends Oct. 5.
Those incredible prizes I mentioned include a brand-new 2021 Ford Bronco presented to you by the hit country music duo LOCASH. That’s the big one.
Other prizes up for grabs include adventures like a Grand Canyon hike for two, a fishing excursion with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle, tickets to a race with racecar driver Chase Elliott, outdoor gear and more.
I’d say Mountain Dew has some folks at the helm who understand their consumer base.
Keep in mind, this is just the latest example of a major company giving people major incentives to enjoy the outdoors.
For more than a decade, Toyota Bonus Bucks has been sweetening the deal for anglers who fish and do well in certain tournaments around the country.
All you have to do to take part in that program is own or lease a 2016 or newer Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma or 4Runner, complete the registration process and participate in a contingency paying tournament. If you post the highest finish among reigstered anglers, you win cash.
Several anglers have earned five figures in B.A.S.S. events just from Toyota Bonus Bucks contingencies.
Yamaha has a similar program with Yamaha Power Pay. To participate, an angler must be the original owner of a Yamaha outboard motor purchased from a Yamaha dealer within the last 60 months in horsepowers ranging from 115 to 425.
Once registered, they earn cash for being the highest-finishing qualified angler in a contingency paying tournament. Select tournament trails pay the top two highest finishes.
Just this year, anglers have earned Yamaha Power Pay cash in Bassmaster Opens, at the Bassmaster Classic — and most recently, Jake Mims of Brewton Parker College in Georgia became the first angler to win the contingency in a Bassmaster College Series event.
When it comes down to it, a lot of us don’t need an extra incentive to go outdoors. But it sure is nice to be thought of.
And for those who do need a little push, trust me, certain companies are doing all they can to provide it.