DR PEPPER READY TO TAKE ON THE WORLD

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Following successful tests in Australia and Mexico, Cadbury Schweppes is putting a priority on expanding Dr Pepper internationally by increasing the ad budget, consolidating the account in some markets, and launching a new ad campaign in Europe, among other regions.

"We want to launch the brand as more of a mainstream product," said James Watt, London-based senior VP-global beverage marketing and strategy at Cadbury Schweppes, which bought Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Cos. in March 1995 and provided the global resources to market the brand overseas.

ONLY IN SMALL WAY

"Over the years, under prior ownership, Dr Pepper has been in a number of markets in a really small way, not on the scale that we are talking about," he said.

In the U.S., Dr Pepper has outpaced the carbonated soft-drink industry with cumulative sales growth of 47% over the past five years to reach approximately 7% of the U.S. carbonated soft-drink market.

Duplicating that success overseas won't be easy. The "Part of me" ad campaign in the U.S., from Young & Rubicam, New York, has positioned Dr Pepper as an offbeat alternative to Pepsi and Coke. But even in the U.S., where the ad budget for Dr Pepper exceeds $62 million, it still holds a limited share of the total soft-drink market.

At its bottlers meeting this week in San Diego, Cadbury will roll out new marketing plans for the U.S., including new advertising, theme line and packaging. Ads from Y&R, shot by film director Barry Sonnenfeld, include one featuring supermodel Angie Everhardt and another with football announcer John Madden. U.S. ad spending in '97 is expected to rise 10%.

How the Dr Pepper marketing team will persuade overseas consumers to try the brand is still being decided. Mr. Watt said, however, the ad theme will borrow from the U.S. approach with some modifications.

THE EARLY STAGES

"We are in quite the early days," said Mr. Watt, who joined Cadbury a month ago from international management positioning firm LE&K Partnership, where he consulted for Cadbury.

A specific date for the global rollout hasn't been finalized and markets haven't been selected yet either, said Mr. Watt.

As part of the Dr Pepper global rollout, Y&R has picked up responsibility for the account in Australia and the U.K. In the U.K., the most developed soft-drink market in Europe, Dr Pepper shifted agencies two weeks ago, going to Y&R from from M&C Saatchi Agency. Y&R already handled Dr Pepper in continental Europe.

New pan-regional European advertising should break early next year, according to a high-level Y&R executive in London. He said several creative approaches are being researched.

ENDURING BRAND VALUE

Dr Pepper has been promoted in Europe as a niche product with an acquired taste. Now the aim, he said, is to give Dr Pepper "an enduring brand value, not a fad image that is just popular with a Generation Xer." Dr Pepper's ad budget for Europe will be increased, but not to "Pepsi levels," the Y&R executive said. The aim is to push Dr Pepper toward a 5%-to-10% market share in Europe.

In Australia, Dr Pepper shifted the account in early September from DDB Needham, Melbourne, to the Melbourne office of Y&R in preparation for a national launch later this year after a successful test market.

In tests, DDB used the theme line, "Most Americans need a doctor," with commercials showing quirky graphics of Americans doing strange things.

Contributing: Mark Gleason.

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