In March, when I toured Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s (DPS) new 850,000-square-foot Western distribution hub and production facility in Victorville, Calif., it was hard to believe it was the same company that is celebrating the anniversary of a 125-year-old brand.
The new Victorville facility’s hot-fill and cold-fill capabilities along with the fill options for a variety of package sizes and beverage types in addition to robotic palletizers set each of its five lines up for optimum flexibility. The plant was built to accommodate innovation and changing consumers’ preferences, which reflects the demands of the beverage market today. In addition, the facility includes features to aid the building in achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building currently is undergoing certification. Not only is this a reflection of good corporate stewardship, which is important to many consumers, it is rather fitting that the company wants to preserve the picturesque mountain views visible from a window-walled break room and outdoor eating space for employees.
Dr Pepper doesn’t look 125 years old either, and that’s intentional. DPS tried something new this year with the company’s first Super Bowl television ad. DPS enlisted the band KISS to promote the smooth taste of Dr Pepper Cherry to the more than 100 million people watching the Super Bowl. In an attempt to drive traffic to the struggling convenience store channel, DPS developed an under-the-cap promotion with Electronic Arts, Redwood City, Calif., to provide exclusive content in EA games, like virtual clothes for The Sims video game or body parts for Spore virtual creatures, on 14-, 16- and 20-ounce bottles of Dr Pepper. The promotional giveaway is so popular and valuable that consumers are selling their exclusive content on Ebay. This month, with the release of “Iron Man 2,” Dr Pepper in partnership with Marvel introduced a series of limited-edition “Iron Man 2” packaging and began a new under-the-cap and specially marked package promotion for a chance to win Iron Man’s gadgets.
While Dr Pepper began as a regional brand, the company is significantly larger today but keeps the feel of a brand and company to which consumers can personally relate.
“Pretty accessible, pretty authentic and very original people work here, and we try to do things a little bit differently than our competition,” says Jim Trebilcock, DPS’s executive vice president of marketing. “I would hope that piece of the brand, that piece of the company and that piece of our culture here just continues to grow because it makes it a fun place to work, and it’s kind of unique in a very competitive industry.”