If nothing else, you've got to give Cadbury-Schweppes (NYSE: CSG) points for inventiveness.

Ordinarily, when a soda manufacturer wants to imbue itself with a pop star's popularity, mucho dinero is part of the package. But in a fit of genius disguised as altruism, the owner of Dr Pepper has hitched its wagon to famed '80s/'90s rock group Guns N' Roses -- for the purpose of giving out freebies.

For more than a decade now, GNR, last widely known for its '90s two-fer Use Your Illusion, has been "working" on getting out a new album. The new opus's supposed title, Chinese Democracy, both seems to refer to the two-decade-old events at Tiananmen Square and suggests how long and drawn out the effort has been. But now comes Dr Pepper with a solution to quench fans' thirst for Axl Rose's heavy metal. The pop maker promises to prescribe one free can of sodie pop to every man, woman, and child in America -- if, and only if, GNR can produce Chinese Democracy by year's end.

For the record, Axl Rose is taking the joke in good humor, expressing surprise and pleasure at Dr Pepper's "support," and indirectly committing to get the album out by the company's deadline by promising to share his can of Dr Pepper with Buckethead, even though he's no longer part of the band. (Sorry, Slash. You'll have to buy your own.)

OK, but what's it got to do with investing?
More than you might think, actually. Starting at the top, Cadbury-Schweppes scores free marketing, not to mention applause from the legions of aging GNR fans. Many of us do appreciate the free soda, since we're closing in on Social Security age and will soon be living on fixed incomes.

And as news of Dr Pepper's gambit spreads internationally, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) could also benefit -- outside the U.S., they're often the ones making and selling Dr Pepper.

Foolish takeaway
Me, I'm just glad to hear that Axl is taking Dr Pepper's gambit in good humor. Wouldn't want to antagonize the man, you know.

More pop investing analysis is available at these fine retail locations: