It is an important week for Peter Coombe, the Cadbury Schweppes
marketing controller responsible for Dr Pepper. He is turning 30 and
launching a pounds 7.5 million campaign to support his favourite soft
Coombe, a New Zealander by birth, says he loves working on Dr Pepper -
he claims his fridge is full of it. But, more importantly, it’s a
growing brand. ’I’m keen to work on Dr Pepper because it is going so
well. It’s a monster. It’s neat working with the youth market,’ he
The brand was launched in the UK four years ago with the help of some
heavy advertising support, and it enjoyed a 127 per cent increase in
sales last year.
The campaign, which breaks on Friday, brings back the ’dare to try it’
theme - developed by Young & Rubicam in London with its ’porch’
However, the new campaign was created by Y&R in New York, which won the
brief after a pitch against Y&R’s London and Melbourne offices.
The campaign is running in all major markets except the US, where it is
an established brand - it was invented in 1885 in Waco, Texas.
The new ad was shot in a prison off the coast of Marseilles and features
a prisoner going to great lengths to avoid having to try Dr Pepper,
because he is terrified of the taste. He is eventually forced to try it,
loves it so much that he drinks enough to make a raft out of empty cans,
and uses the vessel as a means of escape from prison. At the end of the
year, the company will launch a second execution, called ’visiting
The campaign replaces ’special delivery’, which told consumers that Dr
Pepper is not a cola. Coombe says: ’Dr Pepper advertising was remembered
by 37 per cent of its audience last year, higher than any other
carbonated soft drink despite a significantly lower spend. This shows
incredible advertising effectiveness.’
Dr Pepper has fared best among young teens. Coombe explains: ’It’s about
equal to Sprite in the UK and it’s chasing hard on the heels of Tango
and Fanta. Teens like it the most because of the taste. When you are
nine to 15-years-old, you haven’t yet formed your taste perception; you
have a more open mind.’
Media planning for the task, through MediaEdge, targets teens and adults
up to the age of 34.
’We’re not struggling for differentiation, everyone knows it tastes
different. That’s what makes it a power brand in the UK,’ he adds.
Coombe was a ’marketing man with Guinness in New Zealand’ until two
years ago when he moved to Britain. He has been with Cadbury Schweppes
for 18 months.
For those still unaware of what Dr Pepper tastes like, it’s a
fruit-based drink made from 23 fruit-flavoured essences.
But as Coombe concedes: ’It’s hard to put any taste profile on it.’