Ad Chief to Depart Dr Pepper/Seven Up

NEW YORK John Clarke will retire as chief advertising officer of Dr Pepper/Seven Up following the Dr Pepper bottlers meeting which kicks off in Las Vegas on Thursday, according to sources.

The move comes as the parent company, London-based Cadbury Schweppes, is working to streamline its domestic beverage operations, which consist of Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Snapple Beverage Group and Mott’s.

Another CAO will not be named; rather, Cadbury Schweppes has begun a search for a new chief marketing officer who will oversee all beverage brands within the U.S. portfolio., sources said. Dr Pepper/Seven Up representatives declined to comment.

Clarke is expected to stay on board through February and help with the company’s transition to the new CMO.

Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper/Seven Up spent nearly $160 million globally on ads last year and about $85 million through June 2003, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The impending departure of Clarke is the first step in what will be many changes within the broader marketing structure as Cadbury looks to cut costs, sources said.

Clarke has close ties with current Dr Pepper/Seven Up agency Young & Rubicam, New York, a unit of the WPP Group. He worked with Y&R for Dr Pepper’s current “Be you” campaign, dnL’s “Believe in the green” campaign and its “Make 7 Up yours” campaign.

Jim Trebilcock is currently senior vice president, consumer marketing for Dr Pepper/Seven Up and Michael Sands heads up those chores on Snapple/Mott’s. Both will be considered for the new overarching CMO role, but there is chance that Cadbury will also consider candidates from outside the company, sources said. A decision will likely be made in the next four to five weeks. The individual marketing positions for the separate divisions will likely be dissolved after the hiring.

The CMO will be headquartered at Cadbury’s new offices which will be located somewhere between White Plains, N.Y., where Snapple is currently based, and Stamford, Conn., where Mott’s is located. The location has not been disclosed.

—with Mindy Charski