Chock full of 23 secret flavors, Dr. Pepper is doubtless one of the most bizarre sodas ever made, but being unique has carved it a niche in the market. As often happens, the good idea was seized upon by just about every company with soda-making capabilities, but results are pretty mixed. Competitors are so far behind the leader, they've adopted similar sounding or looking names just to compete. Here's our favorites...
5: Dr. Thunder (Wal-Mart) - My wife's favorite. Dr. Thunder is actually pretty good--at least as good as Diet Dr. Pepper. The label is similar to Dr. Pepper, but is distinctive in its own right (even though the colors are the same). Dr. Thunder holds up okay and is a good substitute for the real stuff.
4: Dr. Good Guy (Kalil) - The label is a complete ripoff, but it's the name that earns it the fourth spot on this list. Dr. Good Guy, really? That's what you say when trying not to be negative about someone you just met, "Yeah, he seems like a good guy." I haven't tried the soda, but it looks like a good drink. Ridiculous. (Incidentally, it's the subject of the final post on the terrific Not Quite What the Doctor Ordered blog.)
3: Dr. Skipper (Safeway) - This offering from Safeway earns a spot because it seems to be marketed on the idea of selling cans to the hard of hearing, as though if someone mumbled what they want to drink, they might end up with this over the original due to the similarity of the names. Money well earned, ad execs...
2: Dr. Shasta (formerly Doc Shasta) (Shasta) - I guess "Doc" was a little to familiar for that stuffy Shasta asshole, so he started going by the more formal "Dr." This is a pointless name change--everyone knows what you're not.
1: Mr. Pibb (Coca-Cola) - The least educated of all the off-brand Dr. Pepper clones, but probably the most well-known, Mr. (not Dr.) Pibb is Coke's offering, so you can be sure he isn't insecure about dropping out of college since he's got that Coke trust fund to fall back on. Mr. Pibb gets the top spot for being the lazy, pot smoking 99%er cousin of Dr. Pepper.
How many products can count Dr. Dre and Fred Flintstone as spokesmen? Love it or hate it, as long as Dr. Pepper remains popular, so will these and hundreds of similar rip-offs. What do you think of Dr. Pepper? Do you have a favorite off-brand? Share your thoughts and comments below, and please share the post on Facebook!