p.t. barnum marketing courtesy of dr pepper

The marketing geniuses at Dr Pepper (caution: post may contain sarcasm-like substance) came up with another one of those forgettable P.T. Barnum stunts they are famous for a while back, promising to give free Dr Pepper to everyone if the totally relevant Guns ‘n’ Roses ever finished their 17 years -in-the-making album Chinese Democracy.


Surprise, surprise, the album was not only released this year, but released on November 23rd!

And…wait…aren’t there 23 flavors in every Dr Pepper? By jove! Dr Pepper just cracked a big ol’ egg of marketing genius all over us!

Too bad all the marketing genius wasn’t put toward figuring out how to execute against this execrable idea…, as reported at Perez Hilton, Dr Pepper’s servers could handle the traffic and their site was unavailable for most of the day that consumers were supposed to be able to get their free soda.

I guess when they took up that new ‘drink it slow’ positioning, the whole company took it to heart.

(And yes, the above is the best joke that I could come up with. I am far too angry at this marketing ineptitude to be at all funny at the moment. I have admitted it. Let’s move on.)

One-off, stunt-y marketing ideas like this that do nothing to build the actual brand are the kind of marketing that comes from executives that desperately need PR because they are looking for their next job. Whether that is because, like a Julie Roehm, they are soulless corporate climbers, or, like Dr Pepper’s own Sean Gleason, because they know that they are about to be laid off, this sort of idea is soundbite marketing, devoid of an ounce of strategy. It gives bloggers, Oprah, etc something small to say about the brand, but it builds nothing.

It is hacky and cheap.

The fact that Dr Pepper wasn’t prepared for the response to their stunt is only the surface of a deep ineptitude that runs deep in their marketing department.

Good luck, Deutsch/LA. At least you know that you can’t do any worse.


5 responses to “p.t. barnum marketing courtesy of dr pepper

  1. I don’t think I am alone when I say that I was unaware of Dr. Pepper’s offer until it failed. Their plan has backfired on multiple levels. Though Axl Rose was pleased with Dr. Pepper’s support, I find this stunt as more of an insult to Guns ‘n’ Roses by shining a light on the fact that their CD has taken so long.
    Personally, I don’t think this is the first of Dr. Pepper’s poor marketing. I have trouble understanding why they think having 23 different flavors in one soda sounds appetizing. All it makes me think of is the absurd amount of chemicals I must be consuming.

  2. this is shit… dont write ne more u ass hole:)

  3. jkf – i know that you’re really proud that you got a job at dr pepper, and i am glad that you’re employed too (at the only place that will take you). it sure beats you on welfare taking my money to support you.

    let’s just leave it at that.

  4. Pingback: Microsoft’s “Browse Never” Campaign: Was the Puke Really Necessary? | Thoughtpick Blog

  5. I like your perspective on this debacle. If your going to offer something to the consumer, no matter how inconceivable it may seem, you must be prepared to follow through on your promise. They obviously didn’t do that here, and with all the 23 potential they could have connected with.

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