What Happened To Dr. Pepper's 'Be A Pepper'' Slogan?

Dr. Pepper has been delighting soda drinkers ever since 1885 with its uniquely formulated bold-yet-sweet taste. The bubbly Texan brand continues to capture our hearts and our taste buds, and it was even dubbed the "King of Beverages" in its heyday. Throughout its lifespan of over a century, Dr. Pepper has cycled through several different spunky slogans to keep up with the ever-shifting marketing trends, even as its iconic 23-flavor variety remains purposefully shrouded in mystery. Long-time fans will likely recall one of the most memorable TV ad campaigns of Dr. Pepper's career, airing in 1977 and continuously showing up into the '80s: "Be a Pepper".

Queue the catchy jingle, sung by the then-budding actor David Naughton, whose role was to drink Dr. Pepper and dance his way across America in the popular ad, even though he had no previous dance experience. The charming "Pied Piper" of Dr. Pepper would continue his role as the face of the company for several years, and the campaign became so widely known that even JCPenney started putting the slogan on clothing.

"Be a Pepper" would go on to become the United States' third most famous advertisement in 1980, getting the soda-drinking masses hyped to be a "Pepper" too. But what exactly is a "Pepper" anyway? "The only thing about a Pepper that's sure is their absolute craving for originality," the company declared (via Dr. Pepper Museum). If it was so successful, why is the classic catchphrase no longer in use today?

Dr. Pepper dropped its renowned tagline in 1983

The Dr. Pepper commercials featured plenty of recognizable celebrities and pop culture icons like Popeye the Sailor Man and Michael Jackson. However, the company decided to end its most popular campaign in 1983. But the company didn't abandon the concept of being a "Pepper" just yet. The soda giant's next slogan was "Dr. Pepper Made a Pepper Out Of Me," which referred to the former phrase which had skyrocketed Dr. Pepper into becoming a nationwide favorite. 

Other tagline iterations after that point couldn't really hold a candle to the "Be a Pepper" campaign in terms of originality, and the nostalgia associated with its absolute earworm of a song still lingers to this day. Naughton returned to the world of Dr. Pepper briefly in 1988 to bust a few moves on screen and promote diet Dr. Pepper, but his famous "Be a Pepper" jingle wouldn't resurface until the beloved drink's 125th anniversary in 2010. The people at the New York Stock Exchange got to enjoy (or stare in confusion) as an entire flash mob performance took place, with Naughton belting the tune over the loudspeakers. The soda's parent organization, Keurig Dr. Pepper Company, still sells more cases of the deliciously peppery drink in the U.S. than any of its other top-selling brands, such as Canada Dry and Sunkist. Even though the nostalgic advertisement is long gone, it seems that there are lots of "Peppers" out there still going strong.