Dr Pepper is underscoring its uniqueness with a TV campaign that is set to begin airing in early January.
Created out of Deutsch, Los Angeles, the new campaign, titled "/1," features real people who have one-of -a-kind stories and charts their journey from being one of seven billion to becoming one of one.
Each spot begins with a mathematically accurate figure that indicates the protagonist's place in the world. For example, the commercial starring model-turned-boxer Mikaela Mayer (shown above) counts down how she went from being a woman (one of millions) to a model (one of 36 ,000) to a female boxer (one of 134). It ends with a shot of her throwing some punches in the ring, stating, "I'm Mikaela Mayer, and I'm one of a kind." Other figures appearing in the commercials are air-guitar champion Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard, American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland, mom and roller derby queen Jen Mayfield [below] and Armando Cristian Perez, better known as the singer-songwriter Pitbull.
The campaign will include one montage spot (below) that features all of the characters, which will debut during the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7. The spots were directed by Chris Milk.
"Our drinkers think they are one of a kind, and they drink Dr Pepper because it's a one-of -a kind soda," said Leslie Vesper, director of brand marketing. After the T-shirt commercials this year, which featured hundreds of people wearing a shirt proclaiming their non-comformity, the brand and the agency wanted to dig deeper into what makes people different. For the first time, the campaign will be the same for both regular and diet Dr Pepper. "We dipped our toe in the water with the earlier campaign, but now it's about what's behind the T-shirt," said Ms. Vesper.
Deutsch trawled the internet to find people that excelled at what they did and were truly peerless. "We wanted people that might have been celebrities within their spheres, like Nordic Thunder, but were people those on the street wouldn't know," said Ms. Vesper. The one exception to this is Pitbull – but the spot starring him will focus on Mr. Perez and his personal history, not his on-stage persona.
The numbers in the commercials are also mathematically accurate, with Deutsch doing research to find out how many mothers have five kids, like Ms. Mayfield, and how many people play roller derby, for example. Ms. Vesper declined to disclose spend, but said that the timing was right for both diet and regular Dr Pepper to do a brand refresh.
"What also makes this stand out is that it doesn't feel like traditional soda advertising," she said, noting that competing brands have traditionally outspent Dr Pepper when it came to advertising. "It's not pop stars dancing around, and we've also kept the product placement subtle and organic," she said, as a nod to the brand's millennial target demo that doesn't react well to over-the-top advertising. The campaign will run through 2013.