Why isn't Mr. Pibb advertised?

Mr. Pibb is my favorite soft drink, and also the one with the least advertising (for a Coke or Pepsi product, anyway) as far as I can tell. Why? Does it have a cult following? Do they figure that nobody buys it except when the vending machine is out of Coke?

Should be “Mr. Pibb” in the title. (If you haven’t figured that out you deserve to drink Tab.)

Paul. I fixed your spelling in the OP.

samclem GQ moderator

Mr. Pibb is Coke’s answer to Dr. Pepper. They sell it primarily in areas where Dr. Pepper is popular (I have never seen it in a vending machine around here), though you can get it in supermarkets. I think they don’t expect to convert Dr. Pepper drinkers, but want it available as an option for people who like that flavor and are willing to take it when there’s only a Coke machine around.

from http://www.misterpibb.com/history.htm

Mr. Pibb is Coke’s answer to Dr. Pepper. They probably don’t push it too hard because they know they aren’t going to get significant market share away from that high profile brand, but at least they’ve got a credible competitor to it.

Dr. Pepper, btw, is part of the Cadbury-Schweppes lineup - they aren’t competing with Pepsico on that turf. Cadbury-Schweppes is on a mission to dominate non-cola soft drinks, and owns a huge number of well known brands such as Dr. Pepper, and Seven-Up, as well as Squirt, Stewart’s and IBC, my usual choices.

A lot of Soft Drink brands hang on with a small established base of customers. Margins are high on soft drinks, especially ones that have some brand loyalty and you don’t have to promote. Essentially, the brand IS the product. It’s worth it for a large company to keep them going for the regular income from even a small base. Squirt is a case in point - the stuff has been made since the late 30’s, and has passed through ownership by larger and larger companies who all kept making it (A&W owned them at one point - A&W is now also owned by Cadbury-Schweppes).

Hmmm. On preview, I see that RealityChuck has already posted an answer that starts out “Mr. Pibb is Coke’s answer to Dr. Pepper”. I’m going to post this anyway.

I’m here in Texas, where Dr Pepper is very popular. Pibb is also widely available, going along with RealityChuck’s theory. When I order a Dr Pepper in a restaurant, I’m often immediately asked if Pibb is okay. I once was even given a Pibb after ordering a Dr Pepper without the waiter asking if the substitution was okay. (I must admit, I only found out when I saw “Mr. Pibb” on the receipt.)

I used to see commercials for Pibb from time to time just after they changed its name to Pibb Xtra, but I can’t remember seeing any lately. Dr Pepper ads, on the other hand, are omnipresent.

I always like to mention Safeway has Dr. Skipper and Shasta had Dr. Diablo… Tasted like, well, you know.

Ah Shasta, what a deprived childhood.

Back when I drank sodas with caffeine in them, I would ONLY drink Dr Pepper and the various caffeinated root beers (some root beers have caffeine in them, some don’t). I tried Mr. Pibb a couple of times, and frankly, thought it tasted nasty. As others have said, it’s Coke’s answer to Dr Pepper. But not an acceptable answer, to me.

Most people who drink sodas find colas at least acceptable, if not preferred. So most people will be happy with one cola or another. As it happens, I don’t like the cola taste, and won’t voluntarily drink it, with or without caffeine. However, I know that I’m in the minority here.

It seems to me (and I have nothing to back this up, I am totally basing this on my unscientific observations) that cola drinkers will often have a preferred brand of cola, but will drink almost any brand of cola available if their preferred brand is not available for some reason.

Sometimes a store or chain will make a deal with a soft drink company…“we will only carry your brands if you cut us a deal”, which means that Taco Bell, for instance, will not carry Sprite or Seven Up, but will carry Sierra Mist Mountain Dew or Teem or some other, totally unacceptable, lemon-lime flavored soda.

I have to say that I used to be VERY fond of Shasta Black Cherrry soda some years back. I’ve tried to cut down on my soda drinking, though, and I haven’t even looked for that brand in years.

They do have POP (Point of Purchase) advertising materials for Mr. Pibb, but I’m not sure if they are part of a national campaign or not. When our theater switched over from Dr. Pepper to Mr. Pibb we received a slew of counter signs, ceiling danglies and buttons saying “Mr. Pibb - put it in your head!” which we thought was hilarious. The assistant manager also got a kick out of replying to the question “Do you have Dr. Pepper?” with “We have PIBB, Mister!”

Re: the Cadbury-Schwepps angle - I remember in the 70s Mr. Pibb and 7-Up used to have nearly identical lettering (It looked sort of like marquee lighting…I can’t think of how to describe it.) No question they were from the same company/family.

Well, I think it’s important to note that Taco Bell is a division of Yum! Brands, which was spun off from PepsiCo a few years ago. As a result, they carry Pepsi products. Sprite, being a Coca-Cola beverage, wouldn’t be carried under any circumstances.

Yeah, Taco Bell/Pizza Hut/KFC are all part of the same company, which was a part of PepsiCo, so probably I shouldn’t have used that example. I had just eaten some TB takeout, and it was on my mind. But I know that several food chains have made deals with soft drink suppliers to ONLY carry one or another brand, so that when someone orders a Coke, the server is supposed to say “Is Pepsi OK?” or “We carry Pepsi, would you like one?” Supposedly, Coca-Cola has mystery shoppers who go out and order Cokes, to see if they get served a Pepsi without being notified of it. This is partially done to protect their trademark (they don’t want Coke to become a generic name, like aspirin).

It’s not just restaurants, either…at least some movie chains and convenience stores will carry only one company’s brand of sodas. In the case of convenience stores, they will frequently carry many major brands of sodas in cans and bottles, but only one brand will be on tap at the fountain. If a customer is dedicated to one particular brand, or despises one particular brand, that can make a difference as to which convenience store chain s/he’ll shop in.

My wife was a confirmed Coke-aholic; it was the only soda she liked (which made it hell when she was diagnosed as diabetic, but that’s another story). We stayed at a lot of hotels that only served Pepsi products, and when the server asked if Pepsi was okay she would change her order to iced tea or whatever lemon-lime product Pepsi sells. Occasionally she would order a Coke and get served Pepsi without any advance warning; the look on her face when she took that first sip was priceless.

I worked briefly at the local Coke bottling plant and one of the (few) perks was a free vending machine which not only had Mr. Pibb but also six-ounce bottles of Coke - which was just the right size for me when I was on break.

We’ll, I’d question it. Whatever the similarity of packaging, 7-Up was never owned by Coca-Cola, whom we all agree makes Mr. Pibb.

History of 7-Up:


They were their own company until 1978, when they were acquired by Philip Morris. In 1986, Philip Morris sold the domestic operations to a private investment group, and the company was merged with Dr. Pepper. In 1995, Cadbury-Schweppes acquired the Dr. Pepper/Seven Up companies, and today lumps many of their soft drink operations under their Dr. Pepper/Seven Up division:


To get an idea just how many brands they’ve acquired, follow the “find a brand” link, and peruse the selection list.

D’oh! I was actually supposed to be agreeing with the previous post and had a reading comprehension fart. I have to wonder why the packaging was so similar at the time though. I can only assume everything “SEVENTIES” looks similar to me.