A PR Check-Up on Dr. Pepper’s New Ad Campaign

It is an odd fact about life that we spend our younger years wanting to fit in and be like everyone else, then grow up and yearn to be different than everyone else.

Dr. Pepper’s new marketing strategy targets the demographic that fits the latter part of that sentence. The beverage brand is rolling out a series of TV commercials featuring compelling individuals such as Mikaela Mayer, a former model turned boxer, and Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard, air guitar champion.

Dr. Pepper’s campaign makes sense from a PR perspective. Instead of featuring larger-than-life entertainers and athletes with looks and talents few average Americans can relate to, Dr. Pepper has chosen to focus on people more like us—people with notable dreams and accomplishments but also idiosyncrasies and quirks. (Seriously, how can you not like someone who has mastered the air guitar?) Quirk is PR gold because it is sincere.

But will that sincerity translate into customer loyalty? Can a bottle of soda really make us feel unique and special? Dr. Pepper thinks it can. For a brand that views itself as a singular presence in the uber-competitive soda category, Dr. Pepper believes partnering with the exceptional people featured in its marketing campaign is a natural and apt brand alignment.

In PR theory this appears to be a logical association, but ultimately the public will decide if Dr. Pepper’s ad campaign lives or dies.