Music-Heavy Commercials Cost $5 Million to Produce

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CHICAGO ( -- Cadbury Schweppes spent $5 million producing a Dr Pepper TV campaign that now won't see the light of day.

The marketer has quietly canned an elaborate "mash-up" campaign from famed director Kinka Usher that mixes music from Kiss, Will Smith, EMP and Cyndi Lauper, and ordered up new creative to be produced before the crucial Memorial Day kickoff to soft-drink season. The company attributed the switch to a new strategy.


'Different strategies'
"From last year into this year we had some different strategies that changed," a spokesman said.

Now, Y&R, San Francisco, is moving forward on a new campaign concept.

The shelved spots were from the WPP Group agency's New York office, which hired music licensing firm Thwak, New York, to mix tunes together to accompany morphing visuals. The effort's aim was to play up the notion that Dr Pepper has 23 flavors that make up its unique taste and used the tagline "There's more to it." One executive close to the marketer said Cadbury had spent up to $5 million in production costs for the effort, much of it in securing rights for the music. Thwak, Usher Films and Y&R all referred calls to Cadbury.

Not shown to bottlers
This isn't the first concept for the brand that's been nixed. Originally, the company planned to present bottlers with an ad showing a tumbling Rubik's Cube. That idea was pulled ahead of the meeting, and for the first time, Dr Pepper creative wasn't shown to bottlers at the annual confab. Instead, Cadbury managers described the mash-up concept to delegates.

"The bottler meeting was six months ago," said a spokesman. "We've continued to refine our strategy and the new DP ads, which begin running in May, reflect compelling consumer insights." He would not discuss production costs.

He added, "We're pleased with the creative that's going on from Y&R and we're pleased with the relationship."

Critical time for brand
Cadbury's decision comes at a critical time for the brand, which was one of few major carbonated soft-drinks to grow in 2005, but has started to lose volume this year. Dr Pepper is Cadbury's largest soft-drink brand and accounts for 23% of its total beverage sales and more than half of its carbonated-soft-drink sales. Cadbury Schweppes spent $54 million in 2005 on Dr Pepper.

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