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Fall Flavors

October 15, 2014

Root Beer logo for blogWhen fall comes around every year, we begin to think about different flavors than what we enjoy during the summer.  Do you think of cinnamon, nutmeg, maple, or even ginger?  Around here at the Dr Pepper Museum those flavors bring to mind root beers.  When you think about your favorite root beer, most likely one of the major brands comes to mind, A&W, Hires, IBC, Stewarts, Barq’s, Mug or even the up and coming Thomas Kemper Root Beer. These seven root beers have earned their spot in the root beer hall of fame as some of the most widely distributed and popular varieties. These brands are owned and bottled by the major soft drink companies, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi Co. and Big Red Inc. Here’s a bit more about your favorite brands.

Hires Root Beer

Hires Root Beer Logo - the original Root BeerThe entrepreneurial spirit inspired the founder of this brand to develop innovative mixtures and packaging. Charles E. Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist, kick-started the root beer craze by improving upon an old herbal tea recipe he stumbled upon while on his honeymoon in the early 1870s. Roots, berries, and herbs combined with water, sugar, and yeast created a refreshing, carbonated drink that could be created by anyone at home by mixing all of the ingredients together. Hires impacted the soft drink business by innovatively pushing his product through advertising campaigns previously unseen. His product, synonymous with quality, rose to national prominence when introduced at the 1876 World’s Fair in Philadelphia. Across the country, households used Hire’s home brew root beer kits to create their drinks at home. In 1989, Cadbury Schweppes acquired the brand, eventually spinning it off with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

A&W Root Beer

In Lodi, California, what started as a simple street vending operation during a parade on June 20, 1919Snoopy A&W can turned into a successful restaurant franchising business that spun off their signature product. During the parade celebrating the homecoming of World War I veterans, Roy Allen sold his root beer at 5 cents a mug. His parade profits were enough to entice a business partner, Frank Wright. The prevalence of the A&W roadside franchises exploded simultaneously with the automobile boom of the 1950s. In 1963, following Allen’s retirement from the business, the A&W Root Beer Company was sold to the J. Hungerford Smith Company that has manufactured the soft drink concentrate for the restaurants since 1921. In 1971, A&W was first available bottled in grocery stores. The company still had more tricks up its sleeve when in the 1980s, new flavors, A&W Cream and Diet Cream Sodas, were introduced to the product line. Cadbury Schweppes later acquired this root beer in 1993. This brand was then spun off into the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

 IBC Root Beer

IBC Root Beer 6 packIn 1919 the Griesediek family, operators of the Independent Breweries Company (IBC) developed an alternative to their usual line of alcoholic beverages in response to prohibition. The result was a tasty root beer native to St. Louis and was a local hit. Unfortunately, the brewery closed. The trademark for the tasty beverage changed hands twice during the 1920s-1930s, appearing in local restaurants. The drink experienced a major resurgence after World War II, when The Seven-Up Company purchased IBC and began promoting it throughout the Midwest and South. In 1986 The Dr Pepper Company purchased The Seven-Up Company, finally making IBC available nationwide. Presently, the product is part of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, alongside the spin-off sodas, Cream Soda and Black Cherry.

Stewart’s Root Beer

Stewart’s Root Beer and fellow spin-offs, Black Cherry, Oranges ‘n Cream and Berries ‘n Cream, too, are Stewarts_RootBeer_wMug_logo_cmyk 2013owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group following the split with Cadbury Schweppes. In 1924 Frank Stewart was looking to supplement his schoolteacher’s salary and began his own root beer stand by selling his brew in ice-cold mugs. In the early 1990s, Stewart sold his soda, and then cream soda and ginger beer were added to the Stewart’s family. Today the Stewart’s line is available in stores nationwide.

Barq’s Root Beer

Barq's Root Beer bottleBarq’s Root Beer was first produced by Edward Barq in the late 1800s at his bottling company, Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works in Mississippi. Originally, the marketing strategy emphasized stressing the product’s differences compared to root beers on the market at the time. In fact, the product avoided calling itself a root beer to avoid infringing upon Hires, who was attempting to trademark the term, “Root Beer.” Barq’s was caffeinated, with less sugar and a stronger sarsaparilla base. Barq’s grew a faithful following, and two companies bottled the product independent of each other. In the mid-1970s, legal disputes arose between regional bottlers when attempting to take the product national, but all conflicts were settled by the Coca Cola Company in 1995.

MUG Root Beer

Native to San Francisco, California, MUG Root Beer began as a product of the Belfast Beverage CompanyMug Root Beer logo who marketed the drink locally. After reviewing local success, the company renamed itself MUG Old Fashioned Root Beer, and took the product nationwide. The product sold, and a sugar-free variety was added to its line up in the 1960s. Adding a companion cream soda happened soon after. During the 1980s, PepsiCo bought the products, adding a quality product to a powerhouse company.

 Thomas Kemper Root Beer

Thomas Kemper logoIn 1990, during a wildly popular Oktoberfest celebration in Poulsbo, Washington, the Thomas Kemper Brewing Company resident brewmaster crafted the first batch of root beer using honey as a sweetening agent.  A year following the first batch, the Thomas Kemper Soda Company was formed to deliver the product to the people. Throughout the 1990s, the company changed hands many times, all while still producing the remarkably smooth root beer that made them famous. The rich formula became synonymous with a premium product in 2008, when all traces of high fructose corn syrup were replaced with pure cane sugar. Big Red acquired the soda company in 2011, determined to expand the product into new markets.


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15. For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own
Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

The Faces of Dr Pepper – David Naughton

October 6, 2014

David NaughtonThe last group to share about their spokesperson from The Faces of Dr Pepper exhibit are Jennifer and Stephanie. They developed their portion of the exhibit on David Naughton, the Pied Pepper. Here is what they have to share.

If you’ve had a chance to visit our newest exhibit, The Faces of Dr Pepper, you know all about David Naughton’s role as spokesperson for the famous “Be a Pepper” campaign. But what do you know about Naughton’s career after Dr Pepper? For example, did you know that Naughton’s last appearance as a Dr Pepper spokesperson was not in 1981, when his contract expired? Let’s take a closer look at David Naughton’s post-Pepper life, including his last Dr Pepper dance number.

Even before David Naughton’s contract with Dr Pepper expired, he had begun exploring other avenues of fame. In 1979, Naughton was cast as the main character of the sitcom Makin’ It, which aired on ABC. Unfortunately, this role did not last long; the show was canceled after just nine episodes. Naughton soon bounced back however, when he transitioned from the small screen to the big screen by landing a role in the 1980 film, Midnight Madness.

Because of the visibility he achieved through the “Be a Pepper” commercials, David Naughton became America’s heartthrob. Peppers everywhere were eager to see more of him and their wish was granted when the horror film An American Werewolf in London was released in August of 1981. This role showcased Naughton’s range as an actor and put him in a light that sharply contrasted the peppiness he had radiated as a Dr Pepper spokesperson.

David NaughtonIn the years after the success of An American Werewolf in London, David Naughton returned to the small screen as a member of another sitcom, My Sister Sam. This show had more success than his initial venture in television. My Sister Sam aired for two seasons from 1986 to 1988, and had a total of 44 episodes. 1988 also marked David Naughton’s first return to his role as a Pepper spokesperson in the Diet Dr Pepper commercials that began airing during that year. In the past 28 years, Naughton has also had guest roles on other popular TV shows like Psych, The Mentalist, and Grey’s Anatomy.

And now we come to the question we asked at the beginning of this post – do you know when David Naughton’s last and most recent appearance as the “Be a Pepper” spokesperson was? If you guessed in January of 2010 at the New York Stock Exchange, you are correct! To kick off Dr Pepper’s year-long celebration of the drink’s 125th anniversary, David Naughton agreed to reprise his role as the singing and dancing Pied Pepper. He and a handful of backup dancers stormed the floor of the NYSE in the form of a surprise flash mob. At the end of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone up 23 points, the same number of flavors in Dr Pepper!


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

The Faces of Dr Pepper – Donna Loren

August 8, 2014

Donna Loren at a carnival with a friendThe next group that worked on The Faces of Dr Pepper explored Donna Loren’s work for Dr Pepper in the 1960s. Erin, Laura, and Megan have this bit of information about Donna to share with you.

Donna Loren was a popular actress, singer, spokesperson and fashion icon during the sixties. She was the face of Dr Pepper, starred in several teen beach party films and was a guest star on the biggest shows during that era. Who is she? How did she go from nothing to everything almost overnight?

Loren was born in Massachusetts and raised in California. She began her singing career at age five when she placed second in an amateur talent show. At the age of eight she caught her first break singing in a commercial for Meadow Gold Ice Cream. Two years later she appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club TV Show. For the next few years she continued singing and recording, hoping to make it big. She even changed her name–her birth name was Donna Zukor, but she thought Donna Loren was a bit more catchy and likeable.

Donna Loren drinking Hot Dr Pepper with a friend.While attending Venice High School in western Los Angeles, Loren was picked up by Dr Pepper at the age of 16. The popular soft drink was a hit with the older generations from advertising campaigns like Peggy Pepper and Harmon the Caveman, but Dr Pepper was now looking to attract a younger crowd. Five foot two inch Donna Loren turned out to be the answer. In 1963 Dr Pepper held a national talent search for a teenage spokesperson, which Donna Loren won, becoming the first and only Dr Pepper girl ever to sign with Dr Pepper. Donna Loren was an instant sensation with the younger demographic, and sales spiked through the 60s after she signed to the company.

Donna Loren and Dick ClarkHer official launch with Dr Pepper was Dick Clark’s Dr Pepper Celebrity Party. It was an unusual party because it was broadcasted live, with many popular young actors and actresses of the time like Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Dick and DeeDee, along with many others. The show attracted the younger age group that Dr Pepper was trying to reach, and turned Donna Loren into a star overnight.

Donna Loren drinking Dr Pepper at the beach with a friend.Loren’s commercials for
Dr Pepper were also a success. “It’s Dr Pepper Time!” was an instant hit and since she was matched with Harmon the Caveman, the commercials were popular with all ages of Dr Pepper fans.  Besides appearing on TV commercials, Loren also starred in several movies, like Muscle Beach Party with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, which also happened to be sponsored by Dr Pepper. Loren was the Dr Pepper spokesperson from 1963-1968, then retired from show business to raise a family.

Today, Loren is back to singing and recording. Since her divorce in the early eighties, Loren has appeared in several TV shows and released several albums, her most recent in 2010 called Love It Away.


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

The Faces of Dr Pepper – Harmon the Caveman

July 11, 2014

Harmon invents Dr PepperFor The Faces of Dr Pepper exhibit, Margaret, Jordan, and Grace from the Exhibit Design class worked on Harmon the Caveman.  These cartoon advertisements for Dr Pepper were drawn by Johnny Hart, the creator of the B.C. comic strip.  Harmon and many of his friends may look familiar to those who have read B.C.  Here is what Margaret, Jordan, and Grace discovered about Johnny Hart.


Johnny HartJohn “Johnny” Lewis Hart, the man behind the “Harmon the Caveman” comic used in the Dr. Pepper campaign from 1962-1963, was born on February 18, 1931 in Endicott, New York.  From a very early age, Hart had a clear talent for drawing, as well as a hilarious sense of humor.  He graduated from high school in 1949 and began a career as a freelance comic illustrator with his high school friends, whose personalities and names gave birth to some of the characters in B.C.


The cast of BC comicsHe started out as a photographer and cartoonist for Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and continued to produce comic strips throughout his deployment in Korea for the newspaper “Pacific Stars and Stripes”.  It was after this, while he was working at General Electric in 1954, that Hart sold his first comic to the Saturday Evening Post, an act that started his propulsion into fame.  Some of his greatest influences were the artists Brant Parker (who later became the artist for the Wizard of Id comic strip with Hart writing it) and Charles Schulz (the artist behind Peanuts).  B.C. began running in 1958, with many of its characters based off Hart’s high school friends and some of his GE coworkers.  The incredibly successful comic is still in print today.  Johnny Hart passed away on April 7, 2007, leaving behind a legacy of fun and a comic strip that helped to mold the comic industry.


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

Faces of Dr Pepper – Frosty Dog

June 30, 2014

Frosty Dog and pup beating the drum for Dr PepperThe next face of Dr Pepper from the Exhibit Design class’s exhibit that we take a look at is Frosty Dog.  Amy, Hannah, and Annie have this to say about Frosty Dog:

Have you ever seen one of Dr Pepper’s oldest mascots, Frosty Dog?  He was introduced in 1956 and stuck around until the early 1960s.  He was often caught saying frosty man, frosty! as he and Pup brought cold, delicious Dr Pepper to consumers.

Frosty Dog appeared in the Cotton Bowl parade in DallasDuring his time as the face of Dr Pepper, Frosty Dog appeared in a wide variety of different advertising. These included cartoons, signs, a dog naming contest, and even a float in the Annual Cotton Bowl Parade in Dallas.

Frosty Dog also got around quite a bit when his signs appeared on the syrup truck-trailers in Baltimore, Birmingham, and Dallas in May of 1959. These large rolling billboards traveled all across America boasting the frosty man, frosty! slogan and promoting “the awareness that Dr Pepper is ‘going places.’” These colorful baked enamel signs were great for advertising because they lasted a long time on the road and did not cost significantly more than the painted signs generally placed in grocery stores.

A rolling advertisment on the side of a Dr Pepper delivery truck

Frosty Dog goes on the roadThe Dr Pepper Company was not the only one who had the idea of taking Frosty on the road. Also in 1959 the R. J. Mealey Corporation created its own talking St. Bernard, which Richard Mealey himself strapped to the back of his station wagon and took off on an adventure. The R. J. Mealey Corporation, however, was not ground-breaking in its use of a talking Frosty dog; the original talking St. Bernard debuted at a Columbus, Mississippi plant in 1958. Regardless, this pooch, affectionately named the Happy Huckster, traveled an impressive 25,000 miles in his journey across eight western states to visit different Dr Pepper bottling plants.

Impressively the Happy Huckster didn’t have any trouble weathering the adverse climate conditions he encountered on his journey, including snow, rain, and dust. Ultimately the R. J. Mealey Corporation teamed up with the Dr Pepper Company and created several hundred Happy Hucksters for them to use at their own bottling sites. This promotion ended up being very good for business because the presence of these talking dogs often led to a two to three times increase in sales.

A Frosty Dr Pepper is known as a Frosty Pep!Although Frosty obviously enjoyed a great deal of success as a face of Dr Pepper during his time, his popularity reached its peak with the Name the Dog contest in the summer of 1959. While the Dr Pepper Company tried to incorporate Frosty Dog in their new direction with the introduction of the Frosty Pep, a float of vanilla ice cream drenched in Dr Pepper, they ultimately moved on to the It’s Different…I Like It campaign.

With warmer weather here, don’t forget this blast from the past and stay frosty man, frosty!


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

Placing Soda in Movies

June 18, 2014

Soda Pop at the Movies exhibit logo
Have you ever watched a movie and noticed a movie character drinking your favorite soda pop or wearing your favorite clothing brand?  Marketers for brand name products and services are intentionally doing this to get recognition for their products.  Product placement makes prominent appearances in films, television programs and other entertainment productions.  Movies are popular forms of advertising and marketing for products because there is a built-in target audience.  Product marketers can choose exactly which type of crowd will be seeing their product used or appearing in a movie.

Wings, the first film with product placementOne of the first films to feature product placement was the 1927 silent film Wings, where a Hershey’s chocolate bar is eaten by one of the characters (Wings also won the first ever Academy Award for Best Picture). Product placement can be a very profitable investment for the product promoter. The appearance of Reese’s Pieces in E.T. increased Hershey’s profits by 65% following the release of the film in 1982. Toy Story’s inclusion of an Etch-A-Sketch boosted sales by an amazing 4,500%. Mr. Potato Head sales saw an 800% increase. 2013’s Man of Steel was branded as the movie with the most promotional partners ever. It’s been reported the producers signed more than 100 contracts with global marketing partners worth more than $160 million. Among them: Nokia, Sears, Lidl, Gillette, Hershey’s, Walmart and more.

Product placement also adds a bit of realism to a film, the old generic labels used in films of yesterday are now being replaced with authentic labels. Just imagine if Tom Hanks was talking to a generic brand volleyball instead of the Wilson brand used in the 2000 movie Castaway. It wouldn’t have the same heartfelt feeling unless he was yelling “Wilson!” as his friend floated away in the ocean. You can even purchase your own Wilson Castaway volleyball on the Wilson brand website.

To learn more about product placement, pop in to the Dr Pepper Museum for our latest exhibition, Soda Pop at the Movies and explore product placement and product promotion between soda pop and feature films.

Photograph from the Soda Pop at the Movies exhibitDifferent types of soda pop have been featured on-screen in a variety of movies, from the first notable on-screen appearance of Coca-Cola in King Kong (1933), to Pepsi in One, Two, Three (1961), and Dr Pepper in Muscle Beach Party (1964).  This family-friendly exhibit spans multiple movie genres, decades, and sodas, guaranteeing something for everyone.

Work up an appetite working the concession stand while learning about the Fountain Services Division of soft drink companies. Stand next to your favorite superheroes and their soft drinks of choice. Discover Dr Pepper Museum items loaned to big-budget films including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Thor (2011), and Dreamworks Studio’s 2005 film, The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio. Soft drink movie memorabilia including cans, bottles, posters, and more will be on display. Don’t miss the blockbuster exhibit of the summer!


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

The Faces of Dr Pepper – Peggy Pepper

June 11, 2014

Exhibit Design 2014 studentsAs some of you know already, we partner with the Exhibit Design class in the Department of Museum Studies at Baylor University every year, so the students get a hands-on learning opportunity in exhibit design and development. This year’s class was given the topic of Dr Pepper spokespersons. They selected Peggy Pepper, Frosty Dog, Harmon, Donna Loren, and David Naughton to examine. They then picked objects from the Museum’s collection, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group collection, and from 2 generous Dr Pepper collectors. With these images they were able to focus on that spokesperson’s impact on Dr Pepper’s national advertising and product sales. Over the next months we will present a series of blog posts the students have developed about their particular spokesperson and some interesting things they learned along way about them. Thanks to these students for their hard work on this exhibit: Jennifer, Grace, Jordan, Laura, Wes, Erin, Margaret, Annie, Stephanie, Hannah, Becca, Megan, Amy, and Erik. We’ll start out with Erik, Wes, and Becca’s blog on Peggy Pepper.

Drink Dr Pepper, Energy Goes UP says Peggy PepperPretty Peggy Pepper was one of the early faces of Dr Pepper. Her entrance into the company’s advertising campaign took place in February 1941. Her image began with a patriotic theme and moved toward more athletic based ads showing her playing tennis, diving, or cheering on baseball player. These ads were featured in News and Views magazine along with her promotional themes “Swing Your Energy UP, Pick Your Energy UP, and Take Home a Carton.” In addition, she had her own cartoon strip featured in Sunday comics.

A Peggy Pepper comic strip from June 1941.

With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, marketing strategies changed and the company began to rethink how to incorporate Peggy Pepper with the war efforts. This was first seen in the February 1942 issue of News and Views, with Peggy handing a bottle of Dr Pepper to a soldier driving a jeep. The company’s support for war efforts also included a listing of Dr Pepper plants who were purchasing Defense Bonds and Stamps in the March issue of News and Views, as well as a general call for Americans to do the same. In addition, each issue featured a list of Dr Pepper employees who were serving in the war. This focus on the war effort was by no means unique in American advertising, but the level of involvement that Dr Pepper committed to things such as war bonds truly made the company stand out in their patriotism. Another interesting use of Peggy during the war was to encourage people to grow Victory Gardens so more food was available for the soldiers. This was an especially interesting find, and one that, in our minds, cemented Dr Pepper’s legacy as a great company.

Peggy PepperAlthough the war was still active, the rise in popularity of Western films being produced in Hollywood at the time led to a shift in advertising in the April 1942 issue of News and Views. Noted color photographer, Ivan Dimitri, was commissioned to take the Western themed photograph featuring Pretty Peggy Pepper handing a Dr Pepper to a cowboy riding a horse. The photograph was taken at the Deep Hollow Ranch, a 5,500 acre dude ranch on Long Island’s Montauk Point, about 100 miles from New York City. The cowboy was the foreman of the ranch and Peggy was featured wearing the patriotic attire that made her famous. While the photograph was not truly from the West, the advertisement made Dr Pepper a well-known trademark, once again.

Tank 020This Western theme did not last long, however, and neither did Pretty Peggy Pepper. The April issue of New and Views was the last time she would appear in a Dr Pepper advertisement. With the country still in the middle of a war in the South Pacific, the company decided to focus their ads primarily on war themes. As war production plants operated continuously, many bottle vendors provided soft drinks to workers regularly because research found that carbonated beverages were effective in boosting productivity. While Pretty Peggy Pepper’s short career only lasted fourteen months, Dr Pepper strongly believed in supporting the men and women at war and chose to display that support through their advertisements.


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.


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