Shelf-shocked elders remember the harrowing days of the Cola Wars, that capitalistic clash to determine which sugar slurry would conquer the world during the '80s and '90s. What most people won't remember was that during this battle, Dr. Pepper (very much the Italy in this war analogy) was desperately trying to survive in the onslaught of Pepsi and Coca-Cola. But as the rebel underdog of the Cola Wars, Dr. Pepper did manage to create the most bonkers piece of soft drink propaganda ever:
The commercial takes place on a post-apocalyptic planet ravaged by the Cola Wars. Bands of Mad Max marauders roam the flavorless wastelands enforcing the New Coke World Order as having different soda preferences has become taboo. (Asking for regular water just calls for your immediate execution.) But the taste revolution is about to start with the arrival of our two heroes, a handsome space cowboy and a sentient buttplug someone accidentally put in the dishwasher.
These renegades brazenly walk into the marauder stronghold/diner demanding "something different." As the Fallout-style fifties waitress hands them black-market Dr. Pepper, the rascally raiders try to swipe the cans. In response, our rebel hero straight-up murders the leader with his ice powers (oh yeah, the cowboy has ice powers), turning his crystalline corpse into a handy ice bucket to improve the taste of Dr. Pepper.
The popularity of the "After The Cola Wars" commercial actually led to a series of high sci-fi Dr. Pepper ads, some featuring Cool Hand Lucky Luke and the Star Wars cantina reject as they travel the galaxy insisting on being served Dr. Pepper everywhere like two asshole American tourists.
But Dr. Pepper also stuck with their anti-war propaganda against the impending Cola supremacy with another dystopian commercial in 1985. In this one, Dr. Pepper goes full Blade Runner, turning the iconic Cola Wars taste test into a Voight-Kampff test as a cyberpunk agent has to figure out which of her three suspects are android clones and which one is the human.
When one of them refuses to drink the regular cola and instead insists on a Diet Dr. Pepper, the detective realizes he's not some mindless drone. They then toast to the synthetic humans exploding from drinking too much bad cola, declaring: "You can teach a machine to drink, but you can't teach it taste."
Despite those ice shots fired, the Cola Wars ended mostly in a draw, with none of the three brands managing to conquer the other. Or did it? Some say that the Cola Wars never really stopped, that we've just been living in an ice tea interbellum, and Cola War II is just around the corner. Honestly, it'd be worth it just to see the Super Bowl ad of Dr. Pepper: Fury Road.
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Top Image: Keurig