Would many women want a soft drink that was packaged in gunmetal grey and silver bullets? Probably not, but that’s the whole point of the marketing for Dr Pepper Ten, the new, 10-calorie soft drink aimed at men. A national ad campaign rolled out today proudly says the drink is “not for women.”
The beverage was developed after research from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group found that men apparently are reluctant to drink diet drinks that don’t seem macho enough.
Unlike Diet Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper Ten has calories and sugar, and rather than the dainty tan bubbles on the diet can, Ten will be wrapped in aforementioned gunmetal grey packaging.
Continuing the men-only theme, there’s a Dr Pepper Ten Facebook page – ostensibly for men only – which includes an app that dispenses “man’ments” such as “Thou Shalt Not Pucker Up. Kissy faces are never manly,” and “Thou Shalt Not Make a ‘Man-Gagement’ Album. That is all.”
TV commercials are heavy on the machismo, including one spot that shows muscular men in the jungle battling snakes and bad guys and appearing to shoot lasers at each other.
“Hey ladies. Enjoying the film? Of course not. Because this is our movie and this is our soda,” a man says as he attempts to pour the soda into a glass during a bumpy ATV ride. “You can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks. We’re good.”
But will the campaign be so off-putting to women that it hurts Dr Pepper’s other women-friendly products?
Already today some comments on the Ten Facebook page were less than glowing, with several female posters expressing the sentiment that the campaign was sexist.
Wrote one poster: “It’s wrong because it’s not only targeting males but is offensive to women. You can target males without insulting women …”
Another wrote: “Not for women?’ Most moronic slogan. Ever. Which advertising idiot are you going to have to fire when you start losing record sales?”
But others posters encouraged the detractors to lighten up.
“This is great advertisement. Guys will think ‘Hell, yeah, a drink for me,’ and you will have the women saying, ’I'm going to drink it just to prove someone wrong,” wrote one male commenter, while others said the campaign was all in good fun.
Dave Fleming, the director of marketing for the company, told Advertising Age, an industry publication, that he was not out to alienate women, and that the goal was “to be direct and have fun.
“Did we have a conversation about how far we wanted to go with this message? Absolutely,” he said in an interview in February when the campaign was in testing. “But we did the research, and it scored well with men and women.”
Jim Treblicock, executive vice president of marketing for the company, said about 40 percent of people who have tried the soda so far are women. The drink was tested and promoted in six markets across the nation before being widely rolled out.
“Women get the joke. ‘Is this really for men or really for women?’ is a way to start the conversation that can spread and get people engaged in the product,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.