Dr Pepper Advertising Success Built on Being Different

By Carter, Kim | THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 11, 1986 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Dr Pepper Advertising Success Built on Being Different


Carter, Kim, THE JOURNAL RECORD


This is a story about being different, being unpredictable and having the courage to take a road less traveled by others.

John Smith, media director for Dr Pepper Co. based in Dallas, said those words as he began to tell Dr Pepper's tale at a meeting of the Oklahoma City Advertising Club last month.

Smith has been in charge of the soft drink company's planning, evaluation and execution of media, both nationally and locally, since February 1983.

The oldest soft drink on the market today, Dr Pepper was first introduced 101 years ago in a drug store in Waco, Texas. The soda was different and some believed it was to be used for medicinal purposes.

Dr Pepper's rating has fluctuated over the years from being the No. 4 soft drink to the No. 1 and back to the No. 4, as it stands now behind Coke, Pepsi and Diet Coke.

Because of its "originality" and taste, Dr Pepper had to create a positive image to overcome any negative elements associated with the soft drink.

For more than 30 years, Dr Pepper has worked with a smaller advertising budget than other soft drink leaders in the industry, Smith said. Nevertheless, advertising campaigns were executed in a manner to make people remember and to also appeal to the consumer as lifestyles changed.

Advertising for soft drinks in the 1960s and 1970s, namely Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola, were so similar that the soundtrack for Pepsi could be played behind the pictures of a television commercial made for Coke and sync perfectly.

In the recent years of the soft drink wars, those commercials have become more innovative, with characteristics all their own and celebrities used to carry out the image.

Today's soft drink industry is a $30 billion business, from which $15 billion is generated from grocery store sales, Smith said. The grocery store volume is 19 times larger than the sales of dry cake mixes, six times larger than paper towels and 10 times higher than fruit-flavored drinks.

Ad expenditures in the soft drink industry are reaching $600 million a year - and $750 million is being spent on promotions.

"That is over $1 billion against advertising of all products," he noted.

Smith did not disclose the sales or media budget of the private company.

In competing against the cola giants, Dr Pepper does not operate with its own bottling and distribution network. In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court determined Dr Pepper was not a cola, so the product could be distributed by Coke and Pepsi bottlers. By 1969, it was the No. 6 brand of soft drink by virtue of its national distribution network, Smith said.

"Dr Pepper moved out of the ordinary situation and is a testimony to how powerful advertising can be, when each element works toward the same objective," Smith said.

As the Dr Pepper company began to focus on discovering the image of the soft drink, Smith said they found "Dr" suggested it was a soft drink with medicinal purposes. Millions had no desire to find out what it was.

To change that image and encourage people to try it, Dr Pepper could have shown people gulping Dr Pepper down by the gallons.

"But to do that," he noted, "they would soon become part of the run-of-the-mill ads showing marching bands in football fields, beach balls and hordes of young people holding hands in supermarkets."

Instead, Dr Pepper embarked on a campaign dubbing the brand "America's most misunderstood soft drink." In the first advertisements, a young couple sat on a porch swing as the boy attempted to persuade the girl to try something. About the time the viewer believes that something is sex, she pulls out a Dr Pepper, tries it and likes it.

In another commercial, a Dr Pepper distribution warehouse supervisor acts like a squadron leader or football coach, giving a pep talk on the loading dock to the truck drivers.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Dr Pepper Advertising Success Built on Being Different
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.