Touching Down In Dr Pepper’s Football Town

Touching Down In Dr Pepper's Football Town


How long does a Fluent Device take to bed in and win over the public? While some are immediate successes, others take a little longer. Our TestYourAd platform has reports on over 45,000 individual ads, which means we can take the long view and look into how campaigns develop as the public gets used to them. 

For instance, Dr Pepper’s “Fansville” campaign is now in its fourth year. “Fansville” is one of the most ambitious Fluent Device campaigns we’ve ever seen – a series of 30-second sketches about the inhabitants of a town which revolves around its college football team (known only as ‘State’).  The colours of the football team? The distinctive red and white of Dr Pepper, of course. 

Fansville has a regular cast which includes both Sheriff Boz and the face-painted fan who star in the latest ad, “Missing Posts”, but not every character appears in every ad, and the campaign is more about the fictional setting than any particular person in it: a kind of Dr Pepper Cinematic Universe. 

It’s such a wildly ambitious concept it’s frustrating that the ads themselves haven’t always scored well – exploring Dr Pepper ads on the TestYourAd platform we find quite a few solid 3-Star plays but no 5-Star touchdowns. But then Fansville ads have a fine line to walk. The brand wants to tie itself to football and fandom, especially college football. That means understanding the obsession, but also finding the funny side of it. Sometimes the ads are a little too harsh, and sometimes they’re a little too football – non-fans are watching too, after all. 

Fortunately, “Missing Posts” gets the balance just right – at 4-Stars it’s the highest scoring visit to Fansville yet. The ad centers on Sheriff Boz’ search for some stolen goalposts, and the suspicious-looking new swing set in one fan’s garden – a classic sight-gag set-up which the ad delivers on with style. 

How come this Fansville ad hits 4-Stars where others fell short? It’s a better joke, and an ad which has all the quirkiness of the series with none of its occasional meanness. But there’s more to it.  

An idea as far-out as Fansville can take time to settle in with viewers, and a brand needs patience as audiences push past that initial confusion and get used to the ads. Dr Pepper has given Fansville that patience, and scores have been moving up – even a trailer for the ‘new season’ performed well on our platform. The high score for “Missing Posts” might be where the Fluent Device really starts to click for viewers, and if so it’s a win for long-term thinking.