Local drink encourages community to “Be Original”

For over 70 years, Dr. Enuf has served as a go-to drink for Johnson City residents as well as people across East Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. Known as the original energy drink, this soda is rich in vitamins, minerals and originality. The brand’s commitment to keeping the original recipe for almost a century is inspiring for many artists in the area. From painters and printmakers to musicians, it seems that the creative juices begin to flow when Dr. Enuf is included in the conversation.

Over the last ten years, there has been an influx in art that includes the infamous Dr. Enuf name or bottle. Arguably, this began with Dr. Enuf’s first music video made by local musician Tim Nave. After its release, people began to see that the brand valued creativity and originality.

“There’s something about staying original but also being loved and still evolving. I think that's what Dr. Enuf does,” said Jason Flack, a local artist who frequently creates paintings featuring Dr. Enuf.


Dr. Enuf bottle painted by Jack Flack for the "Be Original" campaign.

Around 2015, Flack caught Dr. Enuf’s eye. Since then, he has worked closely with the brand. They even nicknamed him the “Appalachian Picasso.” Flack believes that many people are drawn to creating artwork of the brand because of its significance in the area as well as its commitment to remaining true. This is also one of the reasons Marci Tolley-Berkhimer, also known as FestivMotha, was drawn to include a Dr. Enuf bottle in her recent mural in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee. She also appreciated all the work Dr. Enuf had done with the community.

“Whenever the kids in elementary school had like a program or anything... somebody would call Dr. Enuf, and they'd send us cases for free, you know, just to support the community. I thought that was pretty stand-up, you know,” said Berkhimer. So, yeah, just because it's local, and everybody's proud of it. And because they also give back to the community, for me is why I was inclined to put that bottle in there.”

As Dr. Enuf moves forward, the company’s brand strategy is beginning to shift. They want to extend their outreach to different demographics in the area. The company plans to do this with the new slogan “Be Original.” The goal is to strike up a conversation about what it means to be original.

“We have a specific desire to ask that question to young people, high school students, we're looking at a demographic of, well we're looking for the Tik Tok audience,” said David Cate, owner of Volume Interactive, a digital marketing agency that works with Dr. Enuf. “We're wanting to know because when it comes to young people, there's a high degree of wanting to express yourself, and creativity in my mind is pretty much ingrained in every human being. Whether they have a visible method of an outlet for that, like painting, writing, music, or what have you.”


High school students are not the only people they hope to include in this campaign. Cate revealed that Dr. Enuf’s social media interaction is 60% male. Moving into this new era of Dr. Enuf, they would like to create content that draws in women. They also want more people other than artists to be included in the conversation of originality.


Wagon Wheel mural by FestivMotha located in Johnson City, Tennessee.

“It's one thing to say I'm an original songwriter, an original painter, or an original writer. It's another thing to say that, you know, I serve people in an original way. This is what being original means to me. It means to be remembered at my civic club or means to be a great teacher. It means to be you know, the best. We have a lot of bikers that love Dr. Enuf... but to be original, what does that mean across the board rather than isolate just to something that's kind of a trope when we think of original artists.”

At the end of the day, it seems Dr. Enuf’s central goal is to bring diverse people within the community together. They do not want to appeal to a single crowd or type of person. Instead, the brand’s new initiative aims to bring artists, carpenters, teachers, students, men, women and every person in between together to discuss the importance of being original and true to who you are, just as they have been for the last 70 years.

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