advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I’m just wondering why Dr Pepper is all over the place.

All brands run sweepstakes at some point but Cheesus, it seems like that’s all Dr Pepper does. Dre was a nice touch, I thought, but then, Flash Mobitus took over and reminded people how low they can go. Not that they need one per se, but it’s been a long time since they had anything remotely positive to hang the brand hat on, namely, the Be A Pepper song from the jingle era.

Sappy, yes—but you knew that song.

Now, all you see pretty much are attempts to try and keep up with Coke or Pepsi by, well, not sure exactly. Pepsi can be just as *promotional* at times but at least they’ve got a mostly consistent brand voice. Coke? Definitely has it together.

When I read some of the YouTube comments about the promotional video above, I wonder what direction the brand is headed in:


“Poor Shibby, got nothin to do on spring break :(”

“who the fuck would do this”

“You can go play those games, the rest of us don’t give a shit”

“Yea lets all play halo during spring break!...not”

It’s a unique brand because the product has a unique taste. What demo for what brand doesn’t play video games, or watch ESPN, or is 18-101, blah, blah freakin’ blah. Yet, this is the same demo you see in creative briefs that ends up dictating the creative direction.

Yes, most products in a category taste more or less the same, but Dr Pepper jumps out at you in terms of taste, yet I see none of that uniqueness in its messaging. Mt. Dew, equally as distinct (and I brand I live on), doesn’t seem to have the same identity problem.

To that end, what Dr Pepper also has is rabid fans, least from what I can tell. Some people prefer its special cousin Mr. Pibbs (now called Pibb Extra) or one of the 40+ Dr P knock-offs, but I know a few people who love Dr P like it’s their kid.

One in particular keeps a supply in his office chilled to 38°. Not 37. Not 39. (Basically, cold enough to make your teeth ache.)

He’s also been known to complain to store owners who either don’t stock it or, if they do, carry it in coolers that are less than optimal as far as proper temperature goes. (Granted, most convenience stores in general go through this because cooler doors are constantly opened, and *most* store owners save electricity by not keeping things set cooler.)

Still, I respect the fanaticism. Here’s a voicemail he got after calling Walgreens to complain about warm Dr Pepper:

The point?

When your brand is badass enough to roll sans punctuation and you have fans rabid enough to check how cold your product should be, you should be doing more than running sweepstakes every week. When a backyard comedy stunt vid gets 10 times the views in the same 4-day period, something’s wrong—especially when you’re giving away money or prizes, and nobody seems to be biting.

Instead, why not focus more on carving out a distinct niche with a wider audience while still tapping into the dedication and loyalty of your most diehard fans.


Bob Knorpp, @thebeancast said...

Amen, my friend. God, this is the most mismanaged brand on the planet right now. It's pure GOLD in the hands of their fans and yet they keep trying to ignore us in favor of appealing to a casual market that doesn't give a shit about them.

I know a brand has to push market share, but don't do it in a way that alienates and confuses the existing market. They are an icon trying to make themselves a commodity. It's so weird.

Bob Knorpp
Host of The BeanCast
Posts every Monday @

Frank said...

At the end of 30 Rock a couple weeks ago, I first saw the Dr Dre spot, following a brilliant one that featured the 30 Rock character, Dr Spaceman. Thought the first one was just one of those 30 Rock product placement things, but then Dr Dre comes on. Who's next, Dr Phil?