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PLANO, Texas -- After promising early results from Dr Pepper Ten, a low-calorie version of its flagship soda, Dr Pepper Snapple is giving the same treatment to five of its other soda brands.
Chief Executive Larry Young told the Wall Street Journal that starting as early as January, the company will begin testing 7 Up Ten, Sunkist Ten, A&W Ten and Canada Dry Ten in Columbus, Ohio, Des Moines, Iowa, and central Pennsylvania. It will also test RC Ten, a cola, in Chicago, Evansville, Ind., and Des Moines. The tests will run about six months.
This move reflects the high hopes Dr Pepper Snapple has for its proprietary blend of no-calorie artificial sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup to produce sodas that have a fraction of the calories of, but taste closer to, the regular versions. The combination of sweeteners yields 10 calories per eight-ounce serving compared with 100 calories for regular Dr Pepper. The company is trying to appeal to consumers who stopped drinking sodas because of the high calories, but didn't like the taste of diets.
"Now they [consumers] can come back, drink our 'Ten' products and enjoy the full flavor of our brands and not worry about the caloric intake," Young said. "You have to keep the doctor happy."
Dr Pepper Snapple hopes to replicate what it hails as successful results from last year's test and its recent national launch of Dr Pepper Ten on Oct . 10, according to the WSJ report. In tests, Dr Pepper Ten made up 6 percent of total sales of Dr Pepper products, while also increasing sales of regular and diet Dr Pepper. Cherry Dr Pepper sales, meanwhile, were flat, a positive indication that the low-calorie soda wasn't stealing sales from other versions of the drink.
Dr Pepper is still parsing results from the national launch. "Everything I'm looking at right now is very positive," Young told the news outlet. "We're bringing people back in that left carbonated soft drinks who didn't necessarily want a diet and tried other products."
The company spent about $10 million in additional marketing on the Dr Pepper Ten launch, which gained notoriety for advertisements that promote the drink as a diet soda for men only. The other "Ten" sodas will be marketed to a broader audience, targeting men and women ages 25 to 49, to keep the male-centric advertising with the flagship drink, the report noted.