Y&R Bows ‘Be You,’ ‘Diet Riot’ Campaigns

DALLAS John Clarke’s last work for Dr Pepper as chief advertising officer of Dr Pepper/Seven Up breaks later this week.

Clarke will retire from the company in February; his post will not be filled. The move comes as the parent company, London-based Cadbury Schweppes, is working to streamline its domestic beverage operations. The company plans to hire a new head of marketing that will oversee all beverage brands within the U.S. portfolio by the end of January, according to spokesperson Mike Martin.

The new work, via Young & Rubicam in New York, consists of the latest executions of campaigns for both Dr Pepper and Diet Dr Pepper.

Y&R’s “Be you” campaign for Dr Pepper uses up-and-coming artists who pay tribute to their predecessors. In the latest effort, country singer LeAnn Rimes honors Reba McEntire; the quartet B2K celebrates the work of Smokey Robinson, and Latino artist Patricia Manterola teams with Ana Gabriel. The latter spot was recorded in English and Spanish versions.

For the new Diet Dr Pepper work, the WPP Group shop keeps the tag “Diet Dr Pepper tastes more like regular Dr Pepper.” Unlike past executions that spoofed pop culture—with ads that featured the “retired Village People” and “Medieval Knievel”—the four new spots revolve around the idea that while some situations fall short of expectations, the drink does not. In one, for instance, men are cooking tofu hotdogs that cause them to grimace.

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

Spending for the new efforts is undisclosed. In October, client senior vice president of consumer marketing Jim Trebilcock said Diet Dr Pepper would receive increased marketing support. “More resources will be placed behind the new advertising campaign in 2004,” he said in a statement. “We call our 2004 Diet Dr Pepper marketing plan ‘Diet Riot’ because we are tapping into the consumer trend that has pushed diet soft drink numbers up 5.4 percent so far this year,” he said.