The relationship between Dr Pepper, Pepsi, and Coca-cola may be as complicated as using 23 flavors to make a soft drink.
Several acquisitions, distributions, contracts, and all other trading activities have happened between these three soft drinks that, for you to say they are all owned by one company, may not be a far stretch.
It is a common assumption that Dr pepper is a Pepsi or a Coca-Cola product. Dr Pepper was run as an independent brand for a long time, leading people to think that they were under a giant corporation like Coca-cola or Pepsi.
Many people also think Dr Pepper is a Pepsi product because the two soft drinks are commonly seen together at soda fountains.
In their over 100 years of existence (Dr Pepper in 1885 and Pepsi in 1893), the two soft drinks have become leading beverage brands worldwide with a presence in several countries on most continents.
But did Dr Pepper do this as an independent brand? Did Dr Pepper use the influence of Pepsi by becoming a Pepsi brand? Is Dr Pepper still a Pepsi brand?
Read on for answers to these questions!
Is Dr Pepper a Pepsi Brand?
The answer is no. Dr pepper is not a Pepsi product or brand. However, Dr Pepper has a long history with the North Carolina soft drink.
Until the acquisition of Dr Pepper by Cadbury Schweppes and the creation of Dr Pepper Snapple Inc in 2008, one-third of Dr Pepper/Seven Up products were produced and distributed by Pepsi bottlers.
The other fraction was produced and distributed by Coca-cola, Dr Pepper/SevenUp bottling group, and other independent bottlers, mainly of Dr Pepper/Seven Up premerger regional bottlers.
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola now own most of the old Pepsi and Coke bottlers of Dr Pepper.
Dr Pepper Snapple Inc now bottles and distributes its products in more than 30 states in the US, with Coca-cola and Pepsi bottling and distributing Dr Pepper in some regional areas.
What’s the Difference between Dr Pepper and Coke?
Dr Pepper and Coke are different in that they are manufactured by two different companies and taste differently.
Created just one year apart by pharmacists in the US, Dr. Pepper and Coca-cola are manufactured with flavors that are only known to a few people. However, the 23 flavors in Dr Pepper have been narrowed by mega fans to include cherry, caramel, licorice, lemon, orange, and plum, among other flavors.
While Dr. Pepper is manufactured by Dr Pepper Snapple Inc, a unit company under the Keurig Dr Pepper conglomerate, Coke is manufactured by the Coca-Cola company.
These two soft drinks have a longer and more complex history than Dr Pepper and Pepsi, which involves several legal altercations.
Dr Pepper sued the Coca-cola company in 1951 and 1972 for two different reasons associated with trade operations.
In the early 1960s, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) blocked an attempted buy-out of Dr Pepper by the Coca-cola company. In 1995, a merger between the two soft drink companies was again blocked by the FTC because there would be a monopoly on pepper-flavored soft drinks.
Why Are Soft Drink Brands Owned By Different Companies in Different Regions?
In some regions and towns, a bottling plant such as a Coca-cola or Pepsi bottling plant may produce and distribute another soft drink brand like Dr Pepper. This leads many people to think that the soft drink brand is owned by the more prominent companies, Coca-cola or PepsiCo.
However, this may or may not be the case.
Firstly, Bottling plants are not always owned by the more prominent companies, even when they have the trademark of the companies.
Sometimes, the bottling plants are companies of their own that have contracts with big corporations to produce, bottle, and distribute the corporation’s different soft drink brands in their region. This contract may include a partnership with big corporations.
For example, a coca-cola bottling plant producing and distributing coke and Coca-Cola’s other soft drink brands may not be owned by the Coca-cola company. There may only be a contract of production, bottling, and distribution binding the two companies.
Also, other soft drink brands like Dr Pepper may be approached by this bottling plant or vice versa for a production and distribution contract in their region. Hence, the Coca-cola bottling plant may distribute Coca-cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Schweppes, and other soft drinks without being owned by any of the soft drink companies.
Dr Pepper Snapple Inc, under the parent organization Keurig Dr Pepper, will remain owners of Dr Pepper and Schweppes regardless of the company bottling it
How Does Dr Pepper Market Its Products?
Most of Dr Pepper’s marketing strategies from its inception have been successful in capturing people’s attention and portraying Dr Pepper as a unique brand.
While some of these strategies had a tremendous positive impact on their sales, some others almost brought them to ruin.
In the early 1940s, Dr Pepper was promoted as a 10:00, 2:00, and 4:00 drink. This promotion was based on research that proved that at the three separate hours of 10, 2, and 4, the human body had low amounts of sugar.
From the 1970s until the early 1980s, Dr Pepper was marketed through radio jingles and TV commercials, with some significant contemporary musicians such as James Holmes and Randy Newman writing the lyrics to the jingles.
Some marketing strategies, however, have not gone well. In 2008, Dr Pepper was threatened with a lawsuit after failing to uphold a pledge. The soft drink brand promised to give a free Dr Pepper to everyone in America if a popular band, Guns N’ Roses, released their album that same year. But Dr Pepper only provided coupons on the album release date.
Dr Pepper has also used different slogans in marketing its products, including “Dr Pepper, It Makes the World Taste Better.” (2000), “Dr Pepper, nothing better.” (2006), and “Always One of a Kind” (2012).
In recent times, Dr Pepper has collaborated with famous companies like Marvel Studios in marketing its product. In the promotional campaign for Iron Man 2 in 2010, you can see the different Dr Pepper brands with the characters.
Dr Pepper also uses social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to market its product. The soft drinks Facebook fan account has a followership of up to several million.
Dr Pepper is not a Pepsi product. A Pepsi bottling company may bottle the soft drink brand, but this does not make it a Pepsi product.
Dr Pepper is owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, under the parent company, Keurig Dr Pepper.
Dr Pepper markets its products in several ways, including social media platforms, TV commercials, and partnerships with other companies and brands.