Earlier this month, an Internet scam about the Dr Pepper beverage began circulating social media. The hoax claimed that the company was sold to Coca Cola and that the Dr Pepper brand would be terminated.
Grammar and design mistakes on the shared post led Dr Pepper’s PR team to believe that the rumors would blow over; however, they quickly realized that was not the case. The team attacked the crisis, addressing both internal and external concerns.
The company developed two key messages. The first was internal for employees at Dr Pepper. They took a serious approach to ensure that employees felt secure in their jobs.
The second was external for Dr Pepper’s customers. For this message, the PR team chose use social media as its only medium, because this is where the original rumors came from.
Since the hoax wasn’t negative, just untrue, the company decided to have fun with its response. A GIF was posted to both the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages dispelling the fabricated story. Both of Dr Pepper’s messages succeeded with the social media posts reaching over 13,000 people within the first 24 hours.
Brian Bell, Dr Pepper’s brand manager, commented on why he thinks the company succeeded in dismissing the fabrication, “The most important thing is to know your brand, its voice and know what people respond to.”