Expect to see a lot more of Dr Pepper, Snapple, 7Up and Sunkist on television this year. Parent company Dr Pepper Snapple Group plans to increase ad spending behind these—and several other—brands by $25 million in the second quarter. The soft drink company is also introducing new products, like a new line of Snapple teas created by The Celebrity Apprentice finalists Bret Michaels and Holly Robinson Peete (unveiled today). Svp of marketing Andrew Springate and evp Jim Trebilcock (pictured far left) said the reality show tie-in was part of a yearlong restage—a term they used to describe new packaging and drink formulation. In an interview with Brandweek, Springate and Trebilcock discussed the new products inspired by The Celebrity Apprentice and other changes the brand is making to stand out in a crowded category.
Brandweek: Dr Pepper Snapple Group has put a lot of effort behind its Snapple restage, the most recent culminating in two new flavors created by The Celebrity Apprentice finalists Bret Michaels and Holly Robinson Peete. What prompted that?
Andrew Springate: [Snapple is] a good example of what we’ve been committed to as a company. About a year ago, [the brand] was floundering and it wasn’t very differentiated. We spent a lot of time really listening to our drinkers, found out what worked on the brand, and [discovered that] we needed to do some reformulation work and really find better ways to connect our product with them. So, about a year ago, we restaged it, [rolled out] new graphics, changed the formulation to really emphasize tasty black tea, healthy green teas and real sugar, and marketed that in a really big way, and all of that culminated in the Snapple-The Celebrity Apprentice [integration], and we saw great consumer response.
Jim Trebilcock: It’s one of those stories where people love the brand, but they kind of fell away from it and didn’t think it was as relevant.
BW: Any results you’ve seen thus far?
JT: We completely rebuilt, redefined our supply chain. We used to sell [Snapple drinks] only in 12-packs, but we’ve now put them in 6-packs, along with new graphics, new bottles and a new formula. We sold this through distributors across the country and it was important to get them all excited and fired up about what we were doing. So, when you [factor in] the new packaging, the supply chain piece, the consumer piece and the investment we put behind it, [the restage] has significantly increased our business. Our business in the first quarter was up over 15 percent as measured by ACNielsen. It’s just a terrific, terrific turnaround.
BW: Who’s your target consumer?
AS: Demographically [speaking], we’re 18-plus, but we’re actually [characterized] by more of a mindset in that we try to find people who really are unique, original individuals who like to do their own thing a little differently and we’ve worked with that psychograph for a long time.
JT: [They’re defined as someone who is seeking] a bit of a healthier choice. We’ve always talked about Snapple being a combination of the familiar and the exclusive, so familiar flavors, but done in extraordinary ways. And that’s kind of what we think our drinkers are about, too.
BW: Okay, so restage aside, what’s next for the brand?
AS: So, we’ve done the restage on the base business, and now we’re continuing to work on some of the value tea lines, and you’ll see bigger and better investment and ideas. We’re looking for new ways to create some fun innovation for next year.
BW: Other brands we’re likely to hear from this year?
JT: Dr Pepper is the brand that grew last year and it’s growing again this year. For the balance of the year, you’ll see a big investment behind Dr Pepper, Cherry, which was our innovation [last year]. We’re going to be showing our Super Bowl spot [featuring Kiss lead vocalist Gene Simmons], and that leads us right into the football arena. We signed a long-term arrangement with ESPN and college [football] conferences and we’ll be marketing and giving away over a million dollars in scholarships, both to those who want to go to school, but also for those who are out of work and maybe have to go back in and retrain and get new skills. It’s our single largest program on Dr Pepper.