Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Missing Period

I just finished a story about Frisco, Texas, and included a paragraph about their cool Dr Pepper Ball Park. I called the team (Frisco RoughRiders) public relations department for some information and not only got what I needed but an offer to check what I'd written for accuracy. Dane Brugler, their p.r. person, gave me an A+ for the paragraph but pointed out that there is no period after Dr in Dr Pepper. Curiosity piqued, I went in search of the missing period. Here's a little history. Dr. Pepper was invented in 1885 by pharmicist Charles Alderton, working in Waco, Texas. I found two stories about the name. The company site, in classic corporate butt-coverage style, prefaces their version with "legend has it..." and says that the drug store owner, a Mr. Morrison, named the drink after the father of a girl he had once loved. The other version also credits Morrison but leaves out the romantic embellishments. Popular in Waco, the soda gained wider acceptance after its appearance at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. In the 1950s, the period was dropped "to improve legibility on bottles." And the admonition to drink it at 10, 2 and 4 came after a 1920 study that stated that a person's blood pressure was lowest at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. All you really need to know about Dr Pepper is that it RULES!!


Caitlin said...

You know when a PR offers to check something "for accuracy", what they are really doing is vetting it to see if they like what you've written. If they don't, you can expect cajoling, threats, even legal threats. Showing copy to PRs prior to publication is a dangerous path to go down if you value independence.

Roaming Tales (

Elaine Warner said...

Caitlin's right -- and I don't normally let anyone see my stuff in advance. This was an informed choice. I really appreciate this feedback and, if anyone else didn't think about the p.r. agenda, take heed.