DR PEPPER AD COMMEMORATES SLAIN HIP-HOP STAR

New TV Spot Memorializes Rap DJ Jam Master Jay

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The latest round of commercials in Cadbury Schweppes' Dr Pepper's "Be You" advertising campaign will include a memorial
Photo: AP
Jason Mizell, a.k.a. Jam Master Jay, was gunned down in New York last October.
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to former Run DMC group member Jam Master Jay.

Scheduled to air Jan. 19 during the National Football League's conference championships, the 30-second spot features rapper LL Cool J paying homage to Run DMC's contributions to hip-hop. The ad was filmed prior to the Oct. 30, 2002, fatal shooting of Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, in his New York recording studio.

LL Cool Jay
In the commercial, LL Cool J sings "Take it from me, LL Cool Jay. Run DMC paved the way," referring to Run DMC's role as one of the architects of hip-hop.

John Clarke, chief advertising officer of Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper/Seven Up, and musicians Reverend Run and DMC of Run DMC said they all decided to use the work made prior to Jam Master Jay's death because the "commercial shows Jam Master Jay doing what he does best," Reverend Run said today at a press conference.

At the end of the spot, a photo of Mr. Mizell and the years he lived appear on the screen for several seconds. "After much discussion, we felt it would be a fitting tribute to Jason after his death," Reverend Run said.

More ethnic consumers
The "Be You" campaign, begun last year, was created by WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York. The ads feature contemporary musicians who sing about -- and with -- their musical inspirations. In addition to LL Cool J, pop singer Anastacia honors Cindi Lauper, and Paulina Rubio pays homage to Cuban salsa sensation Celia Cruz. The campaign is part of an effort to court more ethnic consumers. Ads for Dr Pepper had starred country music star Garth Brooks.

Asked about the close timing of the Dr Pepper work with that of rival Coca-Cola Co., whose first work in its new "Real" campaign broke Jan. 13, Mr. Clarke said, "This is our normal timing to introduce our advertising. Coke has been working hard to find a new direction for their advertising."

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