Let’s say you got a really rock-solid beverage in the market. A distinctive spin on the standard cola formula. A name with personality — a goddamn postgrad degree.
This is Dr Pepper. This is a drink with heritage. Well, chum, that doesn’t cut it anymore. Consumers are all, “Boo-hoo, I’m bored of this bewitching nectar.” So Dr Pepper goes and creates flavor spin-offs to generate excitement and maximize reach. My love for the Dr is so deep-down that I was willing to play ball — even though Red Fusion was a spectacular failure and Cherry Vanilla was basically like licking the floor of a second-run movie theater. But I did it because there was still a little Pepper in there somewhere, tantalizing me.
The latest installment is Dr Pepper Berries & Cream, and it’s not bad. Raspberry is underrepresented in mainstream sodas, and the fakey cream flavor is subtle enough to ignore. One problem: There’s no Dr Pepper in it. That unique vibe is almost entirely absent, and I’m all: Why exactly am I wasting my time with the knockoffs? Daddy wants the original. Sometimes I call myself “Daddy” when crushing a half-finished can of disappointing soda and throwing it, with vigor, at a loved one.