My thoughts on Dr Pepper Ten - “No Women Allowed”
This campaign for Dr Pepper has been making a lot of noise online in the last week – And not the good kind of noise.
A bit of background info. According to research conducted by Dr Pepper, many men between the ages of 25 and 34 are not completely satisfied with the taste and image of diet soft drinks. They’re not ‘manly’ enough.
Dr Pepper’s response to this insight is Ten. Ten has calories and sugar, unlike Diet Dr Pepper. Instead of the feminine tan bubbles on the diet can, Ten is wrapped in gunmetal gray packaging with silver bullets. And while Diet Dr Pepper’s marketing is generally women-friendly, the ad campaign for Ten goes out of its way to eschew women. I mean, just look at the tagline, “Not for women”. Not exactly subtle. They’ve even launched a Facebook page for Ten which can only be accessed by men.
It’s important to remember that Dr Pepper Ten is not the first diet soft drink aimed at men. Coke Zero and Pepsi Max have more than successfully positioned themselves as manly drinks. But Dr Pepper Ten’s ad campaign is the first to be so overt about courting men who want a soft drink with fewer calories.
The ad features muscular men in the jungle battling snakes and bad dudes. The soldier in the ad yells “Hey ladies. Enjoying the film? Of course not. Because this is our movie, and this is our soda. You can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks. We’re good.” It looks like a scene straight out of Tropic Thunder.
Going by the noise it has made online, the campaign has clearly pissed off a lot of women. Dr Pepper’s Facebook page took a serious beating, with a large number of female users posting their disgust on the brand’s page. I really don’t understand their logic of promoting their sub-brand by being overtly sexist. Especially when a significant portion of Dr Pepper’s customer base are probably female. Why would you piss off your own customers? Why would you damage the brand like that? It’s okay to position a diet drink towards men. But couldn’t they have said it without the sexist ‘jokes’ that aren’t really that funny anyway?
The fact that the campaign is offensive isn’t even my biggest annoyance. What really bugs me is that it’s lazy and completely unoriginal. I hate it when the strategy is just so in-your-face like it is in this campaign. I mean, they’re just so blatant with the whole ‘not for women’ thing. And why do they say “just ten manly calories”? Putting the word manly in front of calories doesn’t make it sound more masculine. Most men don’t count calories anyway.
This campaign had the potential to be amazing. They could’ve produced something clever, original and creative to promote a new product. But instead, they took the easy way out by using hyper-masculine imagery and a dash of sexism to ward off the ladies. Real smooth..