Dr Pepper gets ordinary

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After years of touting its original personality, Dr Pepper's going mainstream.

"The fundamental truth is we need to get more and more people to try and accept [Dr Pepper] and become fans of this brand," said Randy Gier, newly named exec VP-marketing Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages. "We've got to invite more people in by broadening the way they see it." He said creative is focused less on user imagery and more packed with product.

"We're much more mainstream, with more everyday people and everyday situations, as opposed to using celebrities or the unique individual who's apart from the crowd," said Mr. Gier. "We want to attract new users... who might have been turned off by what we did before."

At its recent distributor meeting, the marketer previewed the broader new theme for Dr Pepper-"One taste and you get it." One of the humor-based spots is scored to the song "Stacy's Mom," and shows a group of young boys salivating at a woman as she walks around her minivan. The shot pans back to reveal she is an average mom (Bonnie Hunt) opening the door to a cooler of Dr Pepper.

diet cherry vanilla

Another follows men cruising in a car getting excited as a pretty woman approaches, only to realize she's after a Dr Pepper left on their ride. WPP Group's Young & Rubicam, New York and San Francisco, handles.

Cadbury is also boosting spending for Diet Dr Pepper and introducing a regular and Diet Cherry Vanilla extension next month in 10 markets to court new drinkers. (The diet version will go national by January). The move comes as Coca-Cola announced it was lowering earning expectations, admitting it had failed to sufficiently address the consumer stampede from full-calorie carbonated beverages to healthier options.

Cadbury Schweppes will boost its marketing share of voice for Diet Dr Pepper, carry it in all promotions and give it top billing in its "New Looks, Same You" promotion, the first of its three annual marketing pushes.

Dr Pepper lost 0.1 percentage points of share to 4.6% as volume dropped 4.1% in the first half of this year in supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers and convenience and gas retailers, according to Beverage Digest. Diet Dr Pepper gained 0.2% to a 1.8 share. Mr. Gier said those numbers don't reflect case sales from Wal-Mart or fountain sales, which drive the trademark into more positive figures.

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