On Friday, February 27th, Jim Trebilcock (CMO) and Benjamin Kraft (Associate Brand Manager) from Dr Pepper visited the McCombs Marketing Fellows Customer Strategy class for a session focused on college football strategy. Dr Pepper Snapple Group is a leading beverage company with 58 brands. Its flagship brand, Dr Pepper, is a unique, one of a kind beverage that is one of the most differentiated brands out there. With humble beginnings in the office of a pharmacist in Waco, Texas, Dr Pepper’s heartland is the five states that surround our great state. In 2014, Dr Pepper became one of the main sponsors of college football (the #2 sport in the USA after professional football), working closely with ESPN. In the first year of their six year agreement, they were able to reach millions of customers nationwide through powerful campaigns involving lovable Larry Culpepper, who is shown selling Dr Pepper at stadiums. The partnership with college football aligns well with Dr Pepper’s target market of 18-24 year olds who are truly one of a kind but also want a sense of belonging socially. College football is all about spending time with your friends and enjoying the game, and it can be made even better with an ice cold Dr Pepper!
First, Jim presented on Dr Pepper’s history, brands and the positioning of Dr Pepper. In the second half of the class, Ben provided insight into how to succeed as a marketing intern and answered questions related to succeeding in our summer internships. He then explained Dr Pepper’s Tuition Giveaway program.There were several key takeaways from the session. First of all, having a consumer-driven strategy is paramount. Whenever decisions are made, you have to keep the consumer in mind, and DPSG has been very successful by continually doing this. Additionally, we stressed the importance of differentiation and positioning. Dr Pepper has been able to achieve excellent positioning and occupies a clear place in the hearts and minds of its audience. Whenever we think about building brands, we need to spend a lot of time developing strong positioning. Overall, the session was extremely insightful and we all enjoyed learning more about Dr Pepper’s sponsorship of college football and the company’s history of innovation. We can’t wait to see what they implement this fall when football season comes back around!
Michelle Sutton is member of the McCombs Marketing Fellows, Class of 2016. She's passionate about marketing because she loves getting inside the head of the consumer and trying to understand why and how they make decisions. She also loves how marketing combines creativity and analysis. It's really a great blend of qualitative and quantitative functions.