To use all functions of this page, please activate cookies in your browser.
With an accout for my.chemeurope.com you can always see everything at a glance – and you can configure your own website and individual newsletter.
- My watch list
- My saved searches
- My saved topics
- My newsletter
Dr Pepper is a carbonated soft drink marketed in North America and South America by Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages (CSAB), a unit of Cadbury Schweppes. The headquarters of CSAB are situated in Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. There is also a no-sugar version, Diet Dr Pepper, as well as many other flavors.
Additional recommended knowledge
Overview and history
The drink was first sold in Waco, Texas, in 1885. It was introduced nationally in the United States at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition as a new kind of cola, made with 23 flavors. The exact date of Dr Pepper's conception is unknown, but the U.S. Patent Office recognizes December 1, 1885 as the first time Dr Pepper was served. It then became the first carbonated soft drink (Coca-Cola came a year later).
It was formulated by German pharmacist Charles Alderton in Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco.To test his new drink, he first offered it to store owner Wade Morrison, who also found it to his liking. After repeated sample testing by the two, Alderton was ready to offer his new drink to some of the fountain customers. Other patrons at Morrison's soda fountain soon learned of Alderton's new drink and began ordering a "Waco". Alderton gave the formula to Morrison. A popular belief is that the drink was named after Morrison's former employer in Texas, but this has been disputed by the Dr Pepper company itself. They state that before moving to Texas, Morrison lived in Wythe County, Virginia near a Dr. Charles T. Pepper, and may have been close to Pepper's daughter at the time.
There is also a Dr Pepper Museum in downtown Waco. It is located in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building in downtown Waco, and opened to the public in 1991. The Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building was the first building to be built specifically to bottle Dr Pepper. The building was completed in 1906 and Dr Pepper was bottled there until the 1960s. The museum has three floors of exhibits, a working old-fashioned soda fountain, and a gift store full of Dr Pepper memorabilia.
Dr Pepper almost became a Coca-Cola brand in the mid-to-late 1980s. Dr Pepper became insolvent in the early 1980s, prompting an investment group to take the company private. Several years later, Coca-Cola attempted to acquire Dr Pepper, but was blocked from doing so by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Around the same time, Seven Up was acquired from Phillip Morris by the same investment company that bailed out Dr Pepper. Upon the failure of the Coca-Cola merger, Dr Pepper and Seven Up merged (creating Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., or DPSU), giving up international branding rights in the process. After the DPSU merger, Coca-Cola obtained most non-U.S. rights to the Dr Pepper name (with PepsiCo taking the Seven Up rights).
In the United States, Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages (CSAB) does not have a complete network of bottlers and distributors, so the drink is sometimes bottled under contract by Coca-Cola or Pepsi bottlers. Prior to the initial Cadbury Schweppes investment-turned-buyout, 30% of Dr Pepper/Seven Up products were produced and distributed by Pepsi bottlers, and another 30% by Coca-Cola bottlers. The remaining 40% was produced and distributed by independent bottlers (mainly consisting of pre-Dr Pepper/Seven Up-merger regional bottlers) and the Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group.
Presently, Dr Pepper is mostly reliant on the Cadbury Schweppes Bottling Group (known as Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group until June, 2006) to bottle and distribute its products in 30+ states. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have essentially stopped bottling and distributing CSAB products in favor of in-house alternatives, although regional exceptions can be found. It is notable that Pepsi bottlers have been dropping Dr Pepper without an equivalent replacement. Previously a Pepsi bottler without a Dr Pepper franchise would typically bottle Dr. Wells, and Coke bottlers would make Mr. Pibb.
In Canada and Poland, Cadbury-Schweppes has licensed distribution rights to PepsiCo. In Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Finland, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium, and Norway, Cadbury-Schweppes owns the trademark and distributes the product. In Spain, Turkey, and Greece it is almost impossible to find as it is usually imported from the United Kingdom in particular supermarkets. In almost all of the other countries of the world, The Coca-Cola Company purchased the trademark from Cadbury-Schweppes and distributes the product. This mixed worldwide ownership of the trademark is due to antitrust regulations which prevented Coca-Cola from purchasing the rights everywhere. Dr Pepper is also available in Japan and South Korea. Although not locally bottled in New Zealand any more, imported cans of Dr Pepper are often found in independent convenience stores (dairies).
Dr Pepper and high fructose corn syrup
Much of the soft drink industry in the United States stopped using sugar in the 1980s, in response to a series of price supports and import quotas introduced beginning in 1982 that increased the price of sugar above the global market price. As a result, most U.S. soft drinks, including Dr Pepper, now use high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar.
A handful of U.S. bottling plants still use sugar to sweeten Dr Pepper. Perhaps best known is the Dr Pepper bottling plant in Dublin, Texas, the product of which is known as Dublin Dr Pepper. In the 1980s, plant owner Bill Kloster (1918 – 1999) refused to convert the plant to high fructose corn syrup. Since 2003, Dublin Dr Pepper has expanded its distribution to most of Texas and the Internet. Other bottlers still using sugar include Temple Bottling Company, in Temple, Texas, Ab-Tex in Abilene, and West Jefferson Dr Pepper (WJDP) of West Jefferson, NC.
On March 25, 2007, Coca-Cola bottlers in the Dr Pepper Heartland commenced sales of 16 ounce cans of Dr Pepper made with cane sugar and featuring a logo with 'Old Doc' himself on them. This product is scheduled to be a limited time release.
The period (fullstop) after "Dr" was discarded for stylistic and legibility reasons in the 1950s. Dr Pepper's logo was redesigned and the text in this new logo was slanted. The period made "Dr." look like "Di:". After some debate, the period was removed for good (it had been used off and on in previous logos), as it would also help remove any medical connotation with the product.
Dr Pepper is the name of a poker variant, whereby in addition to jokers, the cards 10, 2, and 4 are wild cards (taken from a previous advertising slogan which encouraged customers to drink a Dr Pepper at 10, 2, and 4 o'clock).
The company sells more Dr Pepper in the Roanoke Valley area of Virginia than any other metropolitan area east of the Mississippi River. Roanoke is approximately 90 miles east of the hometown of Dr Charles T. Pepper, which is Rural Retreat, Virginia. In the past, the city has been named the "Dr Pepper Capital of the World," and broke world records for its mass consumption of Dr Pepper in the late 1950s.  Dr Pepper donated a portion of its sales revenue in the Roanoke area to finance restoration of a circa-1950s neon Dr Pepper sign, which has the company's "10, 2, 4" logo from the time, in downtown Roanoke.
Advertising and product placement
Arguably the most famous of Dr Pepper's advertising campaigns was their "Be a Pepper" series. These commercials referred to fans of Dr Pepper as "Peppers," and often featured crowd dance scenes with elaborate, over-the-top choreography. One popular ad included the jingle:
This became grist for a number of pop culture references and parodies. One of the first was a sketch on the program SCTV, in which an overly-excited injured man (Eugene Levy) extols the work of a "Dr. Shekter" (Rick Moranis) who's been treating him. Levy and a group of patients wearing casts and crutches engage in their own elaborate dancing and singing (Wouldn't you like to have my doctor, too?), all to the alarm of Shekter (These people should not be dancing!).
Perhaps the most familiar face of these "I'm a Pepper" commercials, David Naughton, later had his breakthrough film role as the main character in the John Landis film An American Werewolf in London.
Dr Pepper has also been featured outside of the "I'm a Pepper" motif. An example is in the video game Pikmin 2, where one of the collectable treasures is a Dr Pepper bottle cap (it is labeled as the "Drought Ender"). Also, an empty Dr Pepper bottle is featured in the book Ragweed by Newbery Award-winning author Avi; the book’s illustrator, Brian Floca, is the son of a Dr Pepper bottler. Several of the classic non-"I'm a Pepper" commercials featured prominent movies stars, one being a television advertisement with Chris Rock as a child enjoying a Dr Pepper.
The 1980s "Out Of The Ordinary" advertising campaign involved a series of post-apocalyptic commercials featuring a space cowboy and an alien sidekick seeking "something different" than a simple generic cola. The campaign also produced commercials featuring the movie creature Godzilla, where citizens of a Japanese town offered Dr Pepper as a libation. The commercials were prominently featured during the 1986 syndication of The Canned Film Festival, which was sponsored by the Dr Pepper Company.
Outside of the United States, Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford played for a Dr Pepper advert in the UK with the slogan, "Hold out for the out of the ordinary."
Dr Pepper's "Be You" advertising campaign centered around commercials featuring pairs of popular musicians, including LeAnn Rimes with Reba McEntire, Paulina Rubio with Celia Cruz, Thalía with Tito Puente, B2K with Smokey Robinson, Anastacia with Cyndi Lauper, Patricia Manterola with Ana Gabriel, and LL Cool J with Run-D.M.C. The campaign also featured individual musicians, notably Garth Brooks.
Dr Pepper was introduced to the Australian market in 1997 with a short-lived TV advertising campaign and low priced 280 ml cans sold through supermarkets. Dr Pepper was subsequently sold in 1.25 litre plastic bottles alongside other major brands until 2003. Cadbury Schweppes stated that the product did not gain acceptance by Australians, whose detractors complained that the drink tasted like "cough syrup" (a tag also given to Sarsaparilla). A report on the soft drink industry by IBIS accused Cadbury Schweppes of failing in their marketing of the brand, given its global appeal.
After withdrawing from the Australian market, Dr Pepper arrived without fanfare in New Zealand. Cans imported from the U.S. are available in some specialty stores in New Zealand and Australia.
On the 2000-12-20 episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, Letterman jokingly referred to Dr Pepper as "liquid manure". After a representative of Dr Pepper complained, CBS agreed not to rerun the Dec. 20 episode. Letterman repeatedly made assurances on the show that he was joking.
Several ads for Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper appeared on television in 2005. In one, a young woman on a blind date at a restaurant who sips into the beverage, suddenly making her date, restaurant patrons, and even a waitress all part of a musical sequence involving The Muppets version of the song "Mah Nà Mah Nà".
Recently, a new campaign was introduced, which features the Queen song "I Want It All".
On November 28, 2007, the company unveiled "Cherry Chocolate Rain," an original music video for Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr Pepper featuring YouTube sensation Tay Zonday.
On January 1, 2008, the company unveiled a new TV ad campaign featuring the Cheers Theme Song (Where Everybody Knows Your Name) performed by Gary Portnoy
Product Placement in Movies
In the 1970s, a Dr Pepper bottle can be seen in the film Let It Be. It is unknown whether this was a reference to the original title of the Beatles' 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', which was 'Dr Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. In the 1985 movie The Return of Godzilla, new scenes shot in the United States showed a Dr Pepper machine very prominently at the end of a hallway.
In 1986, the movie Short Circuit included many advertisements for Dr Pepper, including the old slogan ("Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?") used by the main protagonist Johnny 5. In the "Hate Plague" story arc in the Transformers animated series, the character Wreck-Gar infects Rodimus Prime with the line "I'm a Pepper. Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" Also, in the 1981 film, The Cannonball Run, actor Dom DeLuise (as Victor Prinzim) can be seen singing the "I'm a Pepper" jingle while running out of a Mini-Mart.
In the 1990s, the movie Blast from the Past has a character played by Christopher Walken whose wife (played by Sissy Spacek) prepared hot Dr Pepper. There was an actual campaign in the early 1960's to serve Dr Pepper hot with slices of lemon as a winter drink. The police investigators at the beginning of Blast from the Past can be seen reeling in disgust at his having it prepared hot. Dr Pepper is also featured in many of Tom Hanks' 1990s movies, most notably in Forrest Gump. Bottles of Dr Pepper are also shown on a table behind the characters in That Thing You Do! when they are examining their new Play-Tone record.
In the 2000s, the beverage was involved in cross-promotion with several Marvel Comics movies, including X-Men 2, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man 2. Likewise, characters from the respective movies appeared on Dr Pepper cans around the time of each film's release. Dr Pepper was also featured in yet another Tom Hanks movie in the 2000s, Cast Away, and in the movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Jeff Goldblum's character can be seen wearing an "I'm A Pepper" shirt while he's being held captive by pirates. In the movie Family Guy Presents: Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, Brian and Stewie are in the desert and see a Dr Pepper Machine on the top of a hill. They are disappointed to discover it to be mirage (it's actually an R.C. Cola machine). A small packet of Dr Pepper is used to locate the leak in the spaceship in the film Mission to Mars, with scenes of a Dr Pepper can floating prominently in view. In the movie S.W.A.T., Dr Pepper is featured throughout the film, including dialogue with the brand's name.
Dr Pepper slogans
Many imitations of Dr Pepper exist and can often be identified by the use of "Dr" or "Mr" in their name. One of the most well-known competitors is Pibb Xtra, formerly called "Mr PiBB". It is made by The Coca-Cola Company. SoBe Beverages took its ginseng-infused approach with "Mr. Green".
Several other imitations include:
Other generic versions are "Dr. Wells," "Mr. Ahhhh," "Doc Rocket" (from Trader Joe's) and "Dr. Foots."
The version sold at Safeway Stores was called "The Skipper" throughout the 1980s. Sometime in the 1990s it was renamed "Dr. Skipper", then "Dr. Select", and then "The Dr." After Safeway (UK)'s takeover by Morrisons, its version was renamed "Dr Pop".
Dr Pepper was a frequent role player in the 1990s antitrust history of the United States. As part of these activities, economists and the courts have even weighed in with the opinion that Dr Pepper is a "Pepper" flavored drink and not a "Cola." In 1995, the FTC blocked a merger between The Coca-Cola Company and Dr Pepper on grounds that included concerns about a monopoly of the "Pepper" flavor category of soft drinks. In 1996, Dr Pepper was involved in an antitrust case involving Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys, NFL Properties, Nike, and other commercial interests active at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. In 1998, the "Pepper" flavor soda category was a major part of the analysis supporting an antitrust case between Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dr_Pepper". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|