I bought a Dr. Pepper from the vending machine at work today and noticed that the retro-styled can (pictured to the left, courtesy Wikipedia) has a seal claiming an “authentic blend of 23 flavors.” Indeed, go to DrPepper.com, find the FAQ section, and you’ll be informed that “Dr. Pepper is a unique blend of 23 flavors. The formula for Dr. Pepper is proprietary information.” (Dr. Pepper also has a web-based promotion called “Get23″ centered around the 23 secret flavors. The promotion has to do with finding “flavor icons,” but it won’t reveal what the flavors are. Because they are “you know” a Âsecret.) Apparently, this claim has been a part of Dr. Pepper lore for a long time â€” Âsomething like the Colonel’s Eleven Herbs and Spices, but I was ignorant of it.
So what are the 23 flavors? I’m guessing one is not “cherry-flavored cough syrup,” though “cherry” seems a safe bet. (Vanilla, or some version of vanilla, seems a given, too.) According to Snopes, the company has repeatedly denied the persistant rumor that prune juice is one of the component flavors. Any guesses?
UPDATE: According to AdAge, “Cadbury Schwepps (the owner of the Dr. Pepper brand) spent $5 million on a “mash-up” marketing campaign based on the 23 flavors concept before killing the ads earlier this year.”Â Click through the link to see the commercials that never aired.