Dr Pepper Promo Is 'Banned' In Boston

Unconventional marketers just can't seem to get a break in Beantown.

A month after a guerrilla marketing campaign for Cartoon Network went terribly awry, causing Boston officials to shut down the city for fear of terrorism, a Dr Pepper promotional campaign was called off late last week after Boston officials feared a historic burying ground would be trampled, if not desecrated, by would-be millionaires.

Unlike Turner Broadcasting System, which didn't immediately make amends, Dr Pepper maker Cadbury Schweppes seems to have JetBlue'd itself: It not only suspended the promotion immediately, it apologized in an apparently sincere fashion and offered to pay $10,000 for the Granary Burying Grounds' time and trouble, which equaled the prize amount of the coin that was hidden there as part of "Hunt for More."

A Boston-based brand expert says the flap won't hurt the Dr Pepper brand. "Boston's hypersensitive now," said Scott White, president of Brand Identity Guru. "But it won't affect their brand in the slightest. Now, if they had done something against a particular group of people ... "

What Cadbury Schweppes did was hide gold coins in 23 cities. Consumers could get clues to their locations by inputting codes found on specially marked packages at DrPepper.com. One of the coins was worth $1 million; others ranged from $10,000 to $250,000. A Houston woman was named the grand prize winner on Friday.

A Dr Pepper spokesperson said last week that the coin had been recovered from the Boston burial grounds and that the $10,000 prize available there had been awarded in a random drawing among participants. "The coin should never have been placed in such a hallowed site, and we sincerely apologize," he said in a statement.

The clue for the Boston area--"by the name of a patriot at rest in Philly"--was a dead giveaway that the coin was in Boston's 347-year-old Granary Burying Ground, where Benjamin Franklin's family and other historic notables rest.

After learning of the coin's location, cemetery officials locked the gates. There were no complaints in any of the other 22 cities.