Dr Pepper is a popular caramel-colored, carbonated soft drink marketed in the United States by Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., a unit of Cadbury-Schweppes. The headquarters of Dr Pepper are situated in Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The ownership of the trademark varies in other countries.
Overview and history
The drink was first sold in Waco, Texas in 1885, and was introduced nationally in the United States at the 1904 World Fair. The exact date of Dr Pepper's conception is unknown, but the US Patent Office recognizes December 1, 1885 as the first time Dr Pepper was served. It is the oldest widely sold soft drink in production today, although Hires Root Beer, Vernor's ginger ale and Moxie are actually older. It was formulated by pharmacist Charles Alderton in Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. Apparently uninterested in soft drinks, Alderton gave the formula to Wade Morrison, the owner of the drug store. A popular belief is that the drink was named after Morrison's former employer in Texas, but this has been disputed by the Dr Pepper company itself. They state that before moving to Texas, Morrison lived in Virginia near a Dr. Charles T. Pepper, and may have been close to Pepper's daughter at the time.
Unlike Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Dr Pepper is not a cola. Dr Pepper's flavor is allegedly derived from a mixture of soda fountain flavors popular when the drink was first devised. A partial list of these flavors can be seen at the Dr Pepper museum in Waco, although the formula itself (with its twenty-three ingredients) is a closely-guarded secret. Contrary to a popular urban legend, Dr Pepper does not and never has contained prune juice.  In Texas, Dr Pepper is extremely competitive in the soft drink market, regularly outselling Pepsi.
Dr Pepper is also available in a low calorie version, Diet Dr Pepper. Re-introduced in 1990, Diet Dr Pepper has a reputation for tasting particularly similar to its regular (full calorie) counterpart. According to Cadbury-Schweppes, Diet Dr Pepper is the leading non-cola diet soda.
In the United States, Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. does not have a complete network of bottlers and distributors, so it is sometimes bottled under contract by Coca-Cola or Pepsi bottlers. In about 30% of the country, the product is distributed by Pepsi bottlers, in about 30% of the country, by Coca-Cola bottlers and in the remainder it is distributed by bottlers that are not affiliated with either of those companies.
In Canada, Cadbury-Schweppes has licensed distribution rights to PepsiCo. In Germany, Mexico, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Finland, Austria, The Czech Republic, Belgium, and Norway, Cadbury-Schweppes owns the trademark and distributes the product. In all of the other countries of the world, The Coca-Cola Company purchased the trademark from Cadbury-Schweppes and distributes the product. This mixed worldwide ownership of the trademark is due to anti-trust regulations which prevented Coca-Cola from purchasing the rights everywhere.
The oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant is in Dublin, Texas. In the 1960s, plant owner Bill Kloster (1918–1999) refused to convert the plant from cane sugar to less expensive corn syrup. Today, the plant is still in operation, and is the only US source for Dr Pepper made with real cane sugar (from Texas-based Imperial Sugar). Dr Pepper of this nature is called Dublin Dr Pepper. Contractual requirements long limited the plant's distribution range to a 40-mile radius of Dublin, an area encompassing Stephenville, Tolar, Comanche, and Hico; however, sales to individual customers in non-commercial quantities were (and still are) allowed, and the plant sells its product over the internet.
Recently (as of 2003), Dublin Dr Pepper has expanded their shipping and the product is now distributed over most of Texas. Originally, the drink came in 8 fl. oz. glass bottles. Dublin Dr Pepper recently began shipping 12 fl. oz. plastic bottles. Both types of bottles still have the "Imperial Cane Sugar" labels on the front.
The period after "Dr" was discarded for stylistic and legibility reasons in the 1950s. Dr Pepper's logo was redesigned and the text in this new logo was slanted. The period made "Dr." look like "Di:". After some debate, the period was removed for good (it had been used off and on in previous logos), as it would also help remove any medical connotation with the product.
Advertising and product placement
The movie Short Circuit had many advertisements for Dr Pepper contained within it, including a notable slogan ("Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?") used by the main protagonist Johnny 5. Dr Pepper was also featured in cross-promotion with several Marvel Comics movies, including X-Men 2, Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. Likewise, characters from the respective movies appeared on Dr Pepper cans around the time of each film's release. Also, in many of Tom Hanks' movies, Dr Pepper is featured. Most notably in Forrest Gump and Cast Away.
Dr Pepper's "Be You" advertising campaign centered around commercials featuring pairs of popular musicians, including LeAnn Rimes with Reba McEntire, Paulina Rubio with Celia Cruz, B2K with Smokey Robinson, Patricia Manterola with Ana Gabriel, and LL Cool J with Run-DMC. The latter pairing featured a brief memorial to Run-DMC turntablist Jam Master Jay, who was fatally shot before the commercial first aired. The campaign also featured individual musicians, notably Garth Brooks.
Dr Pepper was introduced to the Australian market in 1997 with TV adverts and low priced half-sized cans sold through supermarkets, but an unsustained marketing push meant the soft drink did not gain widespread acceptance among consumers. Dr Pepper continued to be sold in 1.25 litre plastic bottles until as recently as late 2003, but has since quietly withdrawn from the market.
Dr Pepper was never officially introduced into the New Zealand market, but is becoming available after the demise of the brand in Australia. The soda is available in both Regular and Diet across the country in specialty and convenience stores in 6-pack 335mL cans only. With more advertising and wider availability, it is likely that Dr Pepper would have the ability to embed itself in the New Zealand market.
Dr Pepper slogans
- 1889–1914: "King of Beverages."
- 1920s–1930s: "Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2, and 4 o'clock."
- 1950s: "The Friendly Pepper Upper."
- 1960s: "America's Most Misunderstood Soft Drink."
- 1970s: "The Most Original Soft Drink Ever."
- 1977–1985: "Be a Pepper.", "Wouldn't you like to Be a Pepper too?"
- 1986–1997: "Hold Out For the Out of the Ordinary."
- 1997: "Now's the Time. This is the Place. Dr Pepper Is The Taste."
- 2000: "Dr Pepper, It Makes the World Taste Better."
- 2001: "What's the worst that could happen?" (used in UK and Ireland)
- 2002–2004: "Be You."
- 2005—: "One Taste & You Get It."
- Dr Pepper official website
- The Highly Unofficial alt.fan.dr-pepper FAQ
- The Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company (in Dublin, Texas, U.S.A.)
- Order Dublin Dr Pepper online
- The Dr Pepper Museum
- Clones: Nothing is as good as the original
Cadbury-Schweppes brands Dallas/Ft. Worth-based companies