Yet again, the Daily (Ad) Biz was right. I have been posting for a while – just search Dr Pepper or Cadbury Schweppes if you would like the history – about the imminent loss of the Dr Pepper account byY&R San Francisco.
If I had been in town and posting I would have reported it earlier, but in this case AdWeek beat me to it.
Dr Pepper, which at first pretended that the pitch was only for the “drink slowly to enjoy the more flavors of Dr Pepper” before admitting that it was actually for the whole brand ($35 million in ad spending last year), has chosen Deutsch/LA.
“We looked at a number of agencies, and each of them brought its own unique vision to the project,” said Sean Gleason, client svp, in a statement. “However, the Deutsch/LA team brought an approach that quickly grew into more than a project. Much more. We feel we have an exciting new campaign for Dr Pepper.”
What Mr Gleason is not saying, however, is that he has a dear old friend at Deutsch/LA…just like he has a buddy at Initiative…and he even has a good mate at Source Marketing, a promotions agency that he just brought into the fold. I am not saying that the pitch was unfair, just that a Plano-based e-mailer finds the whole thing curious and so do I.
At any rate, the agency clear-out that I predicted is happening at full speed.
Note to interactive agency VML, aka “The Last Agency Standing”: if you or one of your agency’s muckety-mucks is not very good friends from back in the day with that Gleason character then I would be nervous. Very nervous.
The worst part of all of this is that Dr Pepper as a brand is actually doing well compared to the competition and category. According to the Wall Street Journal from March 13, Dr Pepper’s volume is down but by less than half as much as Coke and Pepsi. It’s market share has even improved!
If you look at Cadbury Schweppes as a whole, their volume is down as well, but again it is down less than half as much as Coke and Pepsi and it is the only major beverages company (here we are ignoring small companies like Red Bull, Rockstar, etc) to have gained market share.
But hey, why not replace the Media Agency of the Year and why not fire your ad agency since the 1960s and hire an agency with no category experience?
I mean, the brand really needs a shake-up…especially if that shake-up allows a certain SVP to hire his buddies’ agencies.