Dr Pepper Snapple Cuts Three Marketing Positions

Jim Trebilcock Will Take Over for Randy Gier as Head of Department

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Dr Pepper Snapple Group has eliminated three positions from its marketing department, including that of Randy Gier, exec VP-marketing, as the beverage company continues to undergo changes following its spinoff from Cadbury Schweppes. Separately, the Snapple brand has reached out to its roster shops for a possible branding campaign.
Sean Gleason, senior VP of Dr Pepper Snapple Group's Brand Action Team, is leaving the company.
Sean Gleason, senior VP of Dr Pepper Snapple Group's Brand Action Team, is leaving the company.

In addition to Mr. Gier, two other executives -- Sean Gleason, senior VP-Brand Action Team, and Cindy Hennessy, senior VP-innovation -- have left the company, said Greg Artkop, a spokesman for the company. (Mr. Gleason was honored as a Media Maven by Ad Age this year.)

Responsibility for the company's entire stable of brands will now fall to company veteran Jim Trebilcock, who will retain the title of senior VP-marketing and replace Mr. Gier. Mr. Trebilcock will be responsible for brand activation, market research and innovation, in addition to the company's brand teams.

"These changes were made to flatten and streamline our marketing organization," Mr. Artkop said. "The goal is to speed decision making, drive simplification and enhance our execution at retail."

Major changes
There have been major changes at the marketer in the past year, after Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages was spun off from its U.K. parent, Cadbury Schweppes, and renamed the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. With the promotion of Mr. Trebilcock, the company is looking to a beverage veteran -- he has been with the company for 21 years -- to lead marketing.

Mr. Gier joined Cadbury Schweppes from Yum Restaurants, where he was chief marketing officer, in 2004. Early in his tenure, Mr. Gier attracted attention for scrutinizing the marketing, brand teams and agencies for each of the company's beverage labels. He oversaw several major agency shifts, including the addition of Y&R, San Francisco, and Deutsch, Los Angeles, to a roster that long had been dominated by Y&R, New York.

"Randy has talent, but he came from outside the beverage business," said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. "Jim Trebilcock has talent and knows the industry deeply and understands the bottlers and what they need and expect." He said bottlers' reactions to the announcement have been positive.

"My impression is that his knowledge of the beverage business, gained over many years, is going to help strengthen the marketing," Mr. Sicher added. "I don't take anything away from Randy, but Jim is a great choice."

Reaching out to agencies
Separately, the Snapple brand is talking to roster agencies as it seeks ways to re-energize the beverage brand, executives familiar with the matter said.

Among the shops Snapple has reached out to, according to executives: Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, which works on Dr Pepper; WPP Group's Young & Rubicam, which handles creative for several brands including Diet Dr Pepper and 7UP; and the incumbent, MDC Partners' Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, which has been Snapple's agency of record since 2004.

Recent Snapple marketing pushes have centered on specific lines, such as its Antioxidant Water and premium teas. The new project, executives said, is likely to include a branding campaign aimed at refreshing the 36-year-old brand -- founded in Brooklyn, New York, and now sold in 80 countries -- and reintroducing consumers to the label.

'A great brand'
"I have always thought that Snapple is a great brand. It's tricky to market because it stands for a lot of things to a lot of people," Mr. Sicher said. "There's an irony in the sense that Snapple, in many ways, changed the industry from the time it was introduced. More recently the industry has changed around Snapple. Snapple still has terrific potential. But it needs focus, and its marketing needs to be upgraded."

The brand spent $25 million on domestic measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Snapple's sales volume has dipped since its heyday, down to about 83 million cases in 2007 from about 125 million in 1993, according to Beverage Digest. In the first quarter of this year, Snapple had a 5% share of the juice category and a 13% share of the tea category. Those data cover supermarkets, convenience stores, drug chains and mass merchants, excluding Wal-Mart.

The last time Dr Pepper Snapple Group was said to be working on a "project" for one of its brands, Dr Pepper ultimately ended its nearly 40-year relationship with Y&R, moving work for the brand to Deutsch's Los Angeles office in April.
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