For several years now, brands like Converse, Red Bull and Sonos have established
studio spaces where emerging and established artists could record and perform
new music, free of the endorsement trappings one would initially associate with a
branded studio. But Dr Pepper is taking the trend a step further, by establishing a
new studio space in Hollywood as well as becoming the main distributor of a trio
of EPs featuring original music from top-of-the-line producers and hot, rising vocalists.
The studio and EPs are part of Dr Pepper’s “One of a Kind” series, created in partnership
with Complex Media Group, and kicks off May 14 with “Only One Place To Get It,” a 4 track
EP produced by RZA. Indie-rap duo The Hood Internet will release the second EP on June,
while psych-rock producer Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio, Kelis’ “Food”) will release his July 16.
Each of the three EPs will feature original music from the respective producers with vocalists
Robert DeLong, Rockie Fresh, Tinashe and RAC. Dr Pepper will distribute the EPs through
media partners like Spotify, Batanga, Spin Media and Xbox. Additionally, Complex will produce
video segments for each of the producers and artists, to be hosted at Complex.com/DrPepper.
Dr Pepper has been amping up its music presence this year, partnering in recent months with
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Latin sensation Romeo Santos for multi-tiered endorsement
deals. But One Of A Kind sees the brand taking of a hands-off approach to the creative process
of music, encouraging collaborations among artists and producers in their known comfort zones.
You can imagine the results of pairing a psych-rock producer like Sitek with an R&B newcomer
like Tinashe, for example, or hip-hop icon RZA with EDM vocalist DeLong.
One of a Kind also takes on new meaning in the context of how Dr Pepper is seeking to further
differentiate itself from cola giants Pepsi and Coke, who have been one-upping each other with
big-name endorsements, music-competition sponsorships and tour deals for years. The brand
has a significantly smaller, more focused ad budget than the half-billion Pepsi and Coke spend
annually on music. Dr Pepper spent just over $104 million on measured media in 2013, according
to Kantar Media. If anything, it positions Dr Pepper as more of a cultural curator on par with Red
Bull, Converse or PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew.