by Lauren Coulson Reed
When Dr. Pepper launched it’s new drink, Dr. Pepper Ten, they did so by excluding half of the market in their sexist campaign. Dr. Pepper Ten is a lower calorie version of the company’s classic soft drink that they chose to market solely toward men. Unlike Diet Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper Ten has calories and sugar. The company’s research team known as the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group concluded that men are reluctant to drink diet beverages that don’t seem manly enough. The exclusive ad campaign included the tag line “It’s not for women.” In an attempt to make the 10-calorie beverage seem macho enough the company created commercial advertisements that were full of manliness and testosterone, including one spot that showed muscular men in the jungle fighting snakes and shooting lasers.
Further instilling the sexist approach of the campaign, the Facebook page for Dr. Pepper Ten contains an application that allows it to exclude women from viewing content. This is where the social media fail takes place. The social media platform includes posted images, like a photo that reads “Darts vs. Air Hockey,” with the bottom caption reading, “Settling the manliest questions of mankind.” Additional images that were posted contained the words “his” or “man” in them to solidify the campaign to the male population. The page also 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.” Several females have posted to the site since the campaign was launched in 2011, to express their negative opinions toward the sexist and stereotypical theme of the campaign. One woman’s comment read, “It’s wrong because it’s not only targeting males but is offensive to women. You can target males without insulting women …” Continuing the men-only theme, a Twitter account was also set up for the new, 10-calorie drink with which the company employees behind the account use to mainly interact with the male demographic.
Dave Fleming, The company’s director of marketing, Dave Fleming, told Advertising Age that he was not out to alienate women, and that the goal was “to be direct and have fun.”
I find the Dr. Pepper Ten campaign to be a social fail in the sense that it received so much negative feedback from consumers, bloggers, and media personnel. In my opinion, the negativity toward the campaign is what led to loss of revenue in the product’s stock market.
I would change the campaign by targeting both men and women. Rather than excluding the female demographic with the campaign slogan, “It’s not for women”, and revolving the campaign around the idea of masculinity, I would center the campaign around the idea of strength and power, traits that both men and women would be proud to possess. What do you think of the gender specific campaign, and what changes would you make to it, if any?
Tineka. (2012, August 15). 5 social media campaigns gone horribly wrong. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.cbronline.com/blogs/cbr-rolling-blog/5-social-media-campaigns-gone-horribly-wrong-150812
Nestle, M. (2012, January 30). The Offensive ‘It’s Not for Women’ Campaign; More Beverage News. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/the-offensive-its-not-for-women-campaign-more-beverage-news/251891/
Gordon, K. (2011, October 15). Dr. Pepper TEN Campaign Specifies ‘It’s Not For Women’ Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.psfk.com/2011/10/dr-pepper-ten-its-not-for-women-campaign-says.html
Clarke, S. (2011, October 10). Dr. Pepper Ten: It’s ‘Not for Women,’ Macho Marketing Campaign Says. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2011/10/dr-pepper-ten-its-not-for-women-macho-marketing-campaign-says/
Kain, E. (2011, October 18). Dr. Pepper’s Bizarre New ‘Not for Women’ Ad Campaign. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/10/18/dr-peppers-bizarre-new-not-for-women-ad-campaign/