The Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS for short) group has just forced the 120-year old tradition of Dublin Dr. Pepper to stop production. Unfair Park has an excellent blog giving the details of this particularly poor decision on DPS’s part. More importantly, the Dr. Pepper brand is now under duress. An immediate and severe backlash is taking shape on the Dr. Pepper Facebook page, their Twitter account and more dangerously, on spaces they do not control. And so far? Silence.

The decision was made final and acted out yesterday at 5 PM. Unless DPS comes up with an incredibly good reason as to why their international brand was threatened by this small-town company, then they are going to lose a lot of business over the next few months. And the Dr. Pepper brand will NEVER be the same again if they do not handle this situation correctly. DPS claims Dublin Dr. Pepper violated their distribution rights, but in light of the entire lawsuit, the allegations are pretty weak-sauce, especially from a PR perspective.

DPS executives might blow this off, and so far that is what they are doing on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. They were not prepared to deal with the incredible onslaught of negativity now plaguing their FB page and Twitter account. So far, as I am writing this article, they have not addressed this situation with their 11,062,677 fans on Facebook or 82,302 fans on Twitter (really, that’s all y’all have on Twitter?), which is only making it worse. If they were hoping that their stalwart fans would defend them, they were fatally mistaken. Look on their FB page, and folks claiming 40+ years of Dr. Pepper enthusiasm are tossing their loyalty and paraphernalia in the trash, claiming a DP boycott. The comments are coming in the thousands and man, are they upset.

So what are you going to do Dr. Pepper? Social Media will not let you hide, that is both its beauty and its curse.  Here are a couple sample snapshots of what I’m talking about.