About the Author: My name is Caitlin Lanning and I am a marketing intern for the Dr Pepper Museum. I am originally from right here in Waco, Texas, but am currently a junior at the University of Arkansas majoring in marketing!
With the grand opening of the new gallery, we are excited to announce new space for our gift shop. Along with a new location came a new name — Peggy Pepper’s Emporium. We have also added new merchandise to provide more variety, and we are adding more items all the time.
You might wonder where we came up with the name Peggy Pepper? Peggy Pepper, whose real name is Peggy Ellis, is a Dr Pepper advertisement icon. Before 1941 many faces appeared on Dr Pepper advertisements. However, in February 1941 the issue of News & Views was a different story. In this issue only one girl was featured, Miss Pretty Peggy Pepper. This new character became a huge hit and was soon the star of every Dr Pepper advertisement, she even had her own comic strip featured in the Sunday comics.
Her image began with a patriotic theme and soon changed to her demonstrating athletic activities such as playing tennis, diving, or cheering on a baseball player. Peggy was always featured in uniform and was known to be active, energetic, and full of life.
With bombing of pearl harbor on December 7, 1941 marketing techniques began to change and the Dr Pepper company had to rethink ways to incorporate Peggy with the war efforts. In the February issue of News & Views Peggy was seen handing a Dr Pepper to a soldier in a jeep. These advertisements started to set apart Dr Pepper and truly made them stand out in their patriotism.
Although the war was still in progress, the interest in Western films began to rise. Peggy quickly adapted to this shift of interest and was seen in the April 1942 issue of News & Views giving a Dr Pepper to a cowboy riding a horse. However, the Western theme began to diminish as did Pretty Peggy Pepper. The April issue of News & Views was her last appearance as the company decided to focus their attention on making the war efforts a priority in their ads.
Even though Peggy Pepper was retired fourteen months after her debut, her legacy still continues. Being not only a Dr Pepper icon, but also a national icon, we are honored to recognize her name here in our gift shop theme today.
You can see original Peggy Pepper artifacts throughout the exhibits in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building, including several western items in our Dr Pepper’s Wild West exhibit.