Back in February I posted about this commercial for Dr. Pepper 10, which was then being introduced to the market:
Dr. Pepper is market-testing a new product, Dr. Pepper 10, which is a 10-calorie (per 12 ounces) soda aimed at men aged 25-34. The problem the company faces is how to market a diet product to men, given the association of dieting with femininity. Dr. Pepper has apparently decided to face this challenge head on and make it very, very clear who this product is and isn’t meant for. This commercial, sent to us by Sully R., uses over-the-top tropes from action movies to prove the soda’s macho cred, and practically yells that it isn’t for women:
Wait, did I say “practically”? I meant literally yells that it’s not for women. Just in case you didn’t get it.
Now, Dr. Pepper is rolling out the product for real. Dave E., Dave W., David B., Rob W., Christopher D., Kathy W., Andrew D., and Emma H. all let us know that the full-scale ad campaign is out, and they are going all-out with the “no women” theme. Here’s the image from the Dr. Pepper 10 Facebook page:
There’s an app on the Facebook page which takes you to lists of requirements for being sufficiently manly; I didn’t go to it, as it required you to allow Dr. Pepper to access all your Facebook info and send you emails, but according to abc News, it includes tidbits like “Thou Shalt Not Pucker Up. Kissy faces are never manly” and “Thou Shalt Not Make a ‘Man-Gagement’ Album. That is all.”
It’s another example of over-the-top ridiculous masculinity presented with a wink and a nod that is supposed to reassure us all that we’re in on the joke, which somehow makes it less absurd that if you want one group of human adults to drink your product, you feel the need to scream from the rooftops that you’re doing your best to prevent another group of human adults from drinking it, so they won’t get symbolic cooties.
UPDATE: Dr. Pepper’s brand index fell among both men and women (but especially women) in the weeks after this campaign was lost.