- Dr Pepper is bringing back its mock TV series "Fansville" for a second season as college football kicks off, according to a press release.
- The episodic marketing campaign depicts a community where everyone is a die-hard football fan, including newborn babies. The latest "Fansville" ads feature former NFL players Brian Bosworth as a sheriff and Eddie George as a doctor, both of whom made an appearance in the first season. In season two's narrative, the titular town celebrates its 150th anniversary.
- Nine TV spots will be shown during the college football broadcasts on ESPN, CBS and Fox, with a "season finale" airing during the National Championship in January. The campaign includes messaging on websites, social media, out-of-home advertising and radio, and is being teased through a trailer released this week.
Dr Pepper returning to the "Fansville" concept — essentially "renewing" a fake TV show for a second season — shows the higher premium that brands are putting toward content marketing with a larger narrative arc and characters that viewers can follow. The episodic nature and continuity of the campaign could be a way to keep football fans engaged over the course of the season as opposed to distracted for just a few moments through more traditional TV spots.
"Fansville," which parodies high school sports dramas like "Friday Night Lights," tracks the story of football-obsessed fans in a fictional town with an ongoing rivalry between the "State" and "Tech" teams. Dr Pepper scores particularly highly on brand performance with millennial college football fans in the southern U.S., where football reigns supreme. "Friday Night Lights" took place in rural Texas.
Sports marketing researcher SBRnet conducted a study last year around the launch of "Fansville" and found that the South is the only region where Dr Pepper performs above average in its category, and a bit better with female fans than males. The soda maker had a much higher brand share among college football fans in the key 18-34 age group than Pepsi or Coke. Among all other age groups, the differences between the three sodas was much less pronounced.
Dr Pepper previously focused its college football campaigns around a character named Larry Culpepper, a fanatical fan who carried a concession tray and believed he had invented the college football playoffs. Executives told Ad Age that its own devotees were divided about the Culpepper character, so a new approach was adopted with "Fansville," which has appeared to resonate with millennials.