CAMPAIGNS: B-M puts the pop into Dr Pepper - Youth Marketing

Dr Pepper was invented in 1885, which makes it older than Coca-Cola.

Dr Pepper was invented in 1885, which makes it older than


The drink is a secret blend of 23 different fruit flavours, and in the

US, is the biggest-selling non-cola soft drink.

Cadbury Schweppes bought the global Dr Pepper brand in 1995, and

relaunched it in the UK in 1996. Since then, UK sales percentages have

grown in double-figures each year.

Research has shown that once consumers have tasted Dr Pepper, repeat

purchase is high. An integrated campaign has been launched based on this



To make Dr Pepper the leading non-cola beverage choice among UK


To build the badge value of Dr Pepper among teenagers and mums.

Strategy and Plan

A media plan was devised and implemented by Burson-Marsteller. The aim

was to create maximum media coverage over the summer period, a key time

for the beverages industry.

The team came up with the idea of a panel of ’trend predictors’

comprised of teenagers and industry experts. The panel would meet on a

quarterly basis to discuss various subjects. The findings would then be

issued to the media.

The agency undertook a national search for trend-predicting teenagers

throughout the UK’s shopping centres. It has resulted in the appointment

of the ’trendiest teenager’ in Britain, and a ’trendy teenager’ in each


The first subject up for discussion was ’technology for the future’.

The panel’s thoughts were duly released to the media.

The plan is to continue with the panels throughout the year and to

secure more coverage in the teen press, radio and through


A sampling campaign was also undertaken, drawing on the ’to try it, is

to love it’ strapline featured in the brand’s advertising. B-M account

handlers attended key teen events across such as pop concerts and the

Cosmo Show with the objective of creating maximum impact for the brand

and ’talkability’ among the target audience. This was not a

straightforward sampling campaign.

Instead of handing out Dr Pepper-branded cans, the samples were

disguised with an outer ’peel to reveal’ wrapper which was unbranded. It

is only once the contents of the can were drunk that the wrapper could

be removed to reveal the drink’s identity.

Nor were the drinks handed out willy-nilly - they went to ’ringleaders’

of groups at the event. These were identified by the sampling team,

which was comprised of teens whose clothing and appearance was tailored

to ensure they stood out as ’aspirational’ figures for other


Measurement and evaluation

With media hits on programmes such as BBC’s Fully Booked, Channel Five’s

The Mag and Kiss FM, this campaign is certain to have an impact. Further

pieces are scheduled for teen magazines throughout the year, so this

should continue.

Estimates are that through the distribution of 100,000 samples, some

500,000 people have been reached, creating a good talk factor in the


The campaign will be evaluated later in the year by Burson-Marsteller’s

in-house system, Critique.


As anyone in youth marketing knows, the problem is always to make a

campaign credible, and ensure it talks to its audience, not at them.

Using teenagers as a part of the campaign was a sensible way of avoiding

some of the cynicism held by modern-day youth.

Burson-Marsteller says the Dr Pepper team is already receiving calls

from the media enquiring about the findings of the next trend-predictors

panel. With so much interest in predicting the future in the run-up to

the millennium, the enquiries look set to continue.

Client: Dr Pepper

PR Team: Burson-Marsteller

Campaign: Trendy teens

Timescale: January 1999 ongoing

Budget: Undisclosed

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