Did Dr.Pepper Just Play Us For A Bridesmaid?
So far the news reports aren't saying how and when Dr. Pepper learned about Kelly Gray-- the Virginia hairdresser who was auctioning off the opportunity for someone to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.
They could have found out about it here...at No Shame Auctions
a website that promises to bring you the "most watched weird eBay Auctions and Mystery Auctions on eBay."
But something about the whole thing is feeling a bit too contrived. Too much like a well-planned publicity stunt. Everything from the ABC News cameras being there to catch Kelly's surprise when she learns that Dr. Pepper won the bid, to the carefully worded press release, to the discrepancy in written tex on MSNBC of why Kelly said she decided to do the auction with the MSNBCvideo account of why she decided to auction a bridesmaid spot on eBay--all feels like the Maria Digby, Disney Contract bruhaha'
First,there's the entire the premise of the eBay bid. Who wants to be a bridesmaid in the first place? Sure, there was that Katherine Heigl movie 27 Dresses but most people I know wish someone would pay them to be in a wedding,not the other way around. So the idea that Kelly could actually win a significant amount of money for her wedding by bidding it out, seems like a bad idea.
It's funny-- I enjoyed being a bridesmaid at my sister's wedding, but like many other women, I would be more likely to pay someone NOT to have to be a bridesmaid at her wedding! (Unless, of course, the happy couple meets through my Money Match personal ads!)
Also the news reports don't say how Dr.Pepper learned about Kelly.Sometimes it's what not is said that says the most. Here's an excerpt from their press release on the auction dated June 26,2008.
"Weddings are about families,and we have a large one ... more than 50 different brands from Dr Pepper to Rose's Mojitos," said Greg Artkop, spokesperson for Dr Pepper Snapple Group. "In fact, you can find us behind the bar at most weddings, so we're looking forward to being up at the altar for once.[...]
"We're glad the wedding is next April, because much like a bride-to-be, it takes some time to plan that special day," said Artkop. "We're planning some exciting surprises and we can't wait to share them with the happy couple. In the meantime, drinks are on us!"
What they don't say is how they found out about Kell. What no one seems to be asking Kelly is how Dr. Pepper found out about her. Curious. Why wouldn't someone ask the obvious question?
Are we just to assume that the folks at Dr. Pepper has someone on staff searching for social media opportunities to build an entire campaign? Not only is Dr. Pepper providing the money for the wedding they are now going to select the bridesmaid which they hint could be a celebrity.
In an interview on The Weekend Today Show, Kelly hinted that she would love it to be Ellen DeGeneres.
Does Ms. DeGeneres drink Dr. Pepper? Are they a sponsor of her program? Lesson learned: either I am not typing in the right keywords or its impossible to find a list of companies that are sponsors of specific TV programs. What's with that?
It's the fact that Dr. Pepper is not sharing how they learned about Ms.Gray that makes it feel like the bid was not a corporate impulse purchase but rather a very well-thought out social media marketing strategy.
This is not the first time Dr. Pepper has tried to tie its brand message to love.. In 2005 they ran an advertising campaign called " I would Do Anything For Love"
On Thursday June 26th, the story of Kelly Gray made the New York Times. However in that article there was no mention that the high bidder was the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. Instead, it focused on the idea that this was a creative way to fund an expensive wedding.
The winner, whom Ms. Lala would not identify, must also pose for pictures and the wedding video and join in “any other wedding activities.” The bridesmaid will wear an apple red dress and shoes of Ms. Gray’s choice. The dress is likely to be A-line and floor length, Ms. Gray said.
She might be renting a tux, however, as she is willing to have a bridesman. The winner can eat from the still-to-be-chosen buffet, but must pay all travel expenses.
Ms. Gray realizes she is taking a chance, but she and her fiancé are undeterred.
“I know some people out there are crazy,” she said. “We just want anybody who is willing to have fun. We’re fun, and we’re hoping someone won’t come in and ruin it for us.”
Several hours after The New York Times article appeared, Good Morning America had an entire piece of Kelly Gray, complete with the phone call from Nick at Dr. Pepper sharing with the viewing audience of Good Morning America that the company was going to increase their winning bid from $5700 to $10,000.
So if to make some sweeping assumptions again --Dr.Pepper contacted the folks at Good Morning America and offered them an exclusive on the eBay bridesmaid story?
Sometime on the 26th--the same day that Kelly appeared on GMA, the Dr. Pepper issued their press release and also decided for $10,000 they would pick the bridesmaid --make that the celebrity bridesmaid?
Then, two days later when Kelly appeared on the Today show, pay close attention to what MSNBC reports motivated her to do the eBay auction in the first place.
Gray says she just wanted to have a nice wedding and needed to make up for the costs.
Gray says she, "was contemplating doing a bake sale and my bridesmaid said: 'We need to auction something (on EBay). There's Dr. Pepper cans and Cheetos bags for sale, so let's just go ahead and do a bridesmaid'.
However, in the video, Ms.Gray doesn't make the Dr. Pepper mention. So why did MSNBC insert that bit about the Dr. Pepper cans in the text of the story?
If there were ever a story to capture the imagination of bloggers, it would be this: financially strapped bridesmaid goes to eBay to auction off a spot as a bridesmaid and major corporation comes in and takes care of all the finances.
From The Weddingbee
This article begs for us to ask the question: is corporate wedding
sponsorship the new bridal trend? Mr. Cookie and I are trying really
hard to stay on budget, but I know that I couldn’t have a corporate
brand plastered among our decorations to offset expenses. I know the
bride didn’t mean for Dr. Pepper to be her wedding sponsor, but would
you solicit a corporate sponsor your wedding?
Most of us are suckers for a story like this because we are hopeless romantics and having someone come in and pay for a wedding you can't afford feels like a dream come true.As of this morning there are several copycat auctions on eBay.
It is the stuff that fairy tales are made of. But, if it reads like a fairy tale, and sounds like a fairy tale,could it just be that it actually is a fairy tale.
Elana blogs about business culture at FunnyBusiness
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