Posted by: Brad Stanford | January 13, 2012

Dublin Dr Pepper And The Big Idea

Background 

This week, a 120-year old tradition came to an end. Dublin Dr Pepper will no longer be sold from the Dublin, Texas, plant.

As a Dublin resident, and a huge fan of Dublin Dr Pepper (I can barely drink any other soda anymore), I’ve been very interested in the outcome of this particular squabble. That outcome came suddenly on January 11 at 5pm, as we all found out that corporate Dr Pepper decided to eliminate the Dublin Dr Pepper line.

The deeper I dig, the more vague the truth becomes. While the lawsuit from corporate claimed that Dublin Dr Pepper was breaking their territorial agreement,  the case is far more sordid than that. There’s evidence that the contract in question was broken by corporate itself. Not only broken, but the broken state was promoted by corporate Dr Pepper. Ugh.

Unfortunately, corporate Dr Pepper was never concerned about clearing the air and proving themselves to be right (and helping to establish case law when it comes to gray areas like this). They were simply concerned with eliminating Dublin from the equation all together for whatever reason. And at this point it doesn’t matter. What’s done is done. The fallout is more distrust, more anger, and the resurrection of  the all-too-familiar phrase “corporate greed”. Like we needed any more of that in the world.

I’ve been vocal on Twitter on Dublin Dr Pepper’s side of the argument, as I believe it to be authentically caught in the middle of disorganized corporate corruption, even if at some fault itself. The way that this resolved was such that Dublin did not have its day in court and Dr Pepper was not interested in pursuing the truth, as evidenced by offering the settlement to begin with. Dublin was left with the choice of a long court battle with an opponent who was not interested in the truth, but simply in winning (corporate has taken Dublin to court before and lost, so there is history in that as well), or getting at least something out of the deal. The something seemed wiser, especially since a long court battled would have ended all the jobs, not just 14.

And killing off the Dublin brand completely? Was that the appropriate business reaction even if there were contract violations afoot? Hardly. Especially since Dublin was constantly praised by corporate as one of the best faces on the company, and the best tasting version of the drink.

I was not privy to any conversations between the two sides, so I can’t know exactly what was said, or how things went down. But I have seen how Dr Pepper has reacted to the public outcry. The classic, “Be quiet and let the storm pass” reaction tells me that Dr Pepper is in a whole lot of hurt when it comes to understanding how business works in the world of free information. It also tells me that they have something to hide. They think they’re still in control of their image!

As of this writing, they still haven’t responded to the public outcry.

And the outcry has been enormous. Twitter was all lit up over it, and most called for boycotting Dr Pepper until they brought back the Dublin version of Dr Pepper. The Dr Pepper facebook page was deluged with negative comments, and it appeared that Dr Pepper at one point was trying to delete them as fast as they could.

Here’s one of my favorite tweets: “Dr Pepper, the makers of New Coke would like to thank you for taking the number one position on the list of soda PR disasters.” And another joked, “DrPepper closes @DublinDrPepper. In other news, George Lucas cancels #CloneWars since it’s more popular than the prequels. #saveddp”

But most of them looked like these:

“My big decision today? I’m done with @DrPepper and @DrPepperSnapple products. Their behavior towards Dublin Dr Pepper was shameful.”

“Boycotting @drpepper for being shady crooks who disrespect history and small business. ”

“Shame on @drpepper for forcing @DublinDrPepper to shut down! Now I’m a Former Pepper! #boycottdrpepper”

And there have been a LOT of #boycottdrpepper tweets.

This got me thinking: how can we show the actual effect of the boycott? Is there something we can do to help Dublin and show disdain for corporate greed at the same time?

I think there is.

Here’s The Big Idea

Why not calculate how much money you would have spent on Dr Pepper products in 2012, and send that amount to the Dublin Economic Development Corporation? For instance, if you would have purchased one six pack of cans a week ($2.50 or so) for the whole year, that would be a total of $130. If you drank one Dublin Dr Pepper can ($.50) every two weeks, that would be $13. Or, let’s say you bought a 6-pack of glass bottles ($5) every month. That would be $60.

Just send that entire amount to the EDC so they can help our local businesses survive while we regroup. And we are regrouping! But it will take us some time.

If you start doing that, I’ll post the results here, and we’ll be able to not only measure the power of the people, but we’ll help a small farm town who took an extra hit during the worst drought Texas has ever seen.

So, if you really want to put your money where your boycott mouth is, then send what would’ve been your Dr Pepper money to:

Dublin Economic Development Corporation
111 South Patrick
Dublin, Texas 76446

(UPDATE 1   1/13/12 10:20pm  – it has been suggested that you use the earmark “The Ferris Fund” ;o)

(UPDATE 2   1/14/12 10:20pm – the city of Dublin also sells Dublin Dollars. This is money that can only be used in Dublin. So if you actullay want to purchase something that you can get some use out of, buy some Dublin Dollars, and then come visit us to spend them! Doing business with us is better, because we get to meet you!)

And remember, you’ll get no return on your money, other than the warm fuzzy feeling in your heart to replace the disgust you have with Dr Pepper!

I’m just suggesting this as a positive way to react to the situation, and to do something rather than just sit and fume.

And if you think you would regret sending the money a week from now – don’t do it! Maybe you should wait a week to see if you still want to help. But if you do, we will be extremely thankful for your donation, as we know it’s tight for everybody right now. The money will not be wasted!

Sometimes, it costs more to do nothing and feel helpless.

Thanks in advance to anyone brave enough to trust a stranger asking for money. :^)

And Old Doc’s is still open, if you want to see where all the fuss – and 120 years of history – took place!

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Responses

  1. Dr. Pepper Corporate, think about this – After almost 176 Years we Texans still “Remember The Alamo”… do you think our memory is so short that we’ll forget what you’ve done to Dublin Dr. Pepper in a few weeks and this “storm will blow over”? I wouldn’t bet on it!

    • Agreed .

      Whataburger’s facebook page received thousands of positive comments after they unliked Dr Pepper and liked Coke. People have asked them to stop serving Dr Pepper. The Weatherford Cafe (I think that’s it) has said they will stop serving Dr Pepper. And Chef John Bonnell of Bonnell’s restaurant in For Worth has changed his signature dessert to use Triple X Root Beer instead.

      We aren’t the only ones who will forget.

  2. Thanks for this article. All of the above suggestions are great. DPSG’s stupidity is beyond me. Most brands would kill for an authentic heritage aspect to their brand like Dr Pepper had in Dublin. DPSG has stripped the soul out of all their products. Snapple itself was the pride and joy of New England/New York… but they’ve moved it all down to Texas.

    Even if Dublin was at fault here (which it seems they might have been placed at fault & entrapped by DPSG), corporate could have found a much better solution.

    I’d like to make another suggestion. I’d like to suggest that the town refuse to allow the Tour de Dr Pepper cycle race and other events be held. I recommend renaming it the Triple XXX Root Beer Race…. or Dublin Bottling Works Ride or something. And showing DPSG that if they are going to treat their most loyal customers like crap, then those customers don’t need them.

    Dublin is a great town. And while I think that DPSG should reverse their decision as soon as possible, I would love to see them suffer even more as a result of their decision should they choose not to reverse it. They’ve stripped the only bit of soul out of what WAS a great Texas icon.

    Shame.

    • Great suggestion. As one who has helped out with the bike rides in one way or another, I can tell you these discussions about the right way to proceed are being had.

      I think there is too much pride at DPSG to reverse the decision. The fact that they haven’t really responded to the tidal wave of resentment says that they don’t care. They’re way of interacting with Twitter was to pay to promote their latest tweet to the top.

      Dr Pepper might indeed be the largest clueless corporation on the planet right now.

      • Actually, they are playing like Sony did when their customer data base was hacked via PlayStation Live; ignore it and everybody will forget. One thing I know; I will never forget. I hope my fellow Texans and Dr Pepper enthusiasts alike will not, either.

  3. […] (If you want to help my town out, you can read my blog post here.) […]

  4. I have loved Dr. Pepper since I was a child and could only get to drink it when I went to Alabama to visit my grandparents. It was my grandmother’s favorite drink. We would go to the store almost daily to get her Dr. Pepper. Then we finally got it in Michigan. Now I live in Texas and was proud to be so close to where it all started. I have recently favored Diet Dr. Pepper. After what they have done to Dublin, though, I’m done. I will drink Diet Coke from now on. The big corporation has truely robbed Dublin of a proud tradition.

  5. You can still buy the original Dublin Dr. Pepper from: http://www.specialtysodas.com/dublin-dr-pepper-p-46.html


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