Dr Pepper Goes Viral for Flavor Intro

NEW YORK When Dr Pepper wanted to get the word out about its newly introduced flavor, it didn’t turn to its advertising agency, WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam, San Francisco. Instead, the soft drink maker engaged True Entertainment, a production company based in New York, to craft a viral video for Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr Pepper.

The music video-like “Cherry Chocolate Rain,” which clocks in at 2:52, stars Internet flavor of the month Tay Zonday, better known as the guy who sings the song “Chocolate Rain.”

Uploaded to the Web late last Thursday by Zonday (real name: Adam Bahner, a musician and Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota), the video had 300,000 hits within its first 24 hours, according to Dr Pepper. Five days later, that number stands at slightly more than 1 million.

Directed by Jeff Tomsic at True Entertainment, a division of Endemol, the clip mimics an expensive music video. It shows Zonday surrounded by scantily dancing clad women, gratuitous shots of cash and rapper Mistah Johnson. Zonday ultimately winds up coated with buckets of liquid chocolate.

Tomsic, who has directed other viral videos for brands such as Speed Stick and Miller Icehouse, shot the Dr Pepper clip in New York in one day that stretched from 5:30 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. He also wrote some of the lines Mistah Johnson raps. “I wrote something for him and it was terrible and he did his best to make it sound better,” said Tomsic. “The good parts are his and the terrible parts are mine.”

Spending on the video was undisclosed.

“There were a lot of fans of Tay involved who volunteered their time,” said Jaxie Alt, director of brand marketing for Dr Pepper, based in Plano, Texas. “We wanted to give his fans more of him.” Added Tomsic: “It was supposed to look like a million bucks, but it’s not. It’s not nearly as expensive as it looks.”

Dr Pepper and True Entertainment have worked together in the past, including last year on MTV’s Band in a Bubble.

Y&R will be responsible for the traditional campaign for the new soft drink, set to launch in January. It will not be related to the viral video. “We have a pretty traditional marketing plan starting fairly soon that includes TV and print. We wanted to do something to talk to our consumers using nontraditional media and we wanted to do something fun,” said Alt. The new campaign will feature “lots of cherries and delicious chocolates.”