Has Dr. Pepper Gone too Far?

Dr. Pepper Ten “It’s not for Women” commercial from Dr. Pepper website

Most of us who watch t.v. are probably familiar with this commercial.

I wasn’t too thrilled with Dr. Pepper when I first saw this ad campaign.  In fact, I remember sitting there in mild shock after it aired.  With what my boyfriend affectionately calls “The Kindergarten America” taking offense at every ridiculous little jab at women, minorities, and endangered species, I was curious as to why Dr. Pepper thought this t.v. spot would be a good idea.  Mae Anderson explores their reasons in an article titled “Dr Pepper Ten: Because Men Don’t Drink Diet Soda?”  She explains Dr. Pepper’s research, which found that men think the bold gray packaging, the absence of the word “diet” and the aggressive new marketing make diet drinks more approachable.  And with the “volume [of soft drinks purchased by Americans] falling from slightly over 10 billion cases in 2005 to 9.4 billion cases in 2010, according to Beverage Digest data,” this new market may be a saving grace to the industry.

First of all- there’s a magazine just for beverage statistics?

And people actually want to read this?

But seriously, kudos to the author for including actual data instead of just postulating.  And hooray for those Americans reaching for a glass of tap water instead of the carbonated sugar!

Of course, Dr. Pepper and its bubbly counterparts aren’t too happy with these figures.  And apparently, neither are men who want a diet drink.  Diet Dr. Pepper lost a lot of male customers with its overly-sweet, femininely-slim formula.  Dr. Pepper Ten, noticeably devoid of the ominous “diet” label, contains only 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar per can…..and somehow, all 23 flavors are still there.

I will admit, as an avid fan of Dr. Pepper, I was excited to try the new flavor.  Plus, they were giving it out for free on campus (to men AND women, I might add!)  But I have to say, not only is Ten not quite as satisfying as the full-bodied flavor of the original, I just find the whole campaign offensive.

Yes, I am a woman, but do I consider myself overly-sensitive?  I laugh at dumb-blonde jokes and fully admit that most women (including myself) can’t drive.  I applaud women who take jobs in traditionally male fields and fight for equal pay, as I myself am planning on going into a still-male-dominated field.  Two of my roommates are men, meaning I am well used to the male view on taking out the garbage, “bro only” video game night, and wearing nothing but their underwear around the house.  In other words, I have no problem at laughing at true gender stereotypes because I feel like I have a fairly balanced opinion about what constitutes as appropriate.

But when even my pizza snarfing belching roommates think the ad campaign goes too far, I have to draw the line.

A Dr. Pepper Ten Facebook page allows female fans to be blocked from viewing the content.  The commercials say that women cannot appreciate the drink because it doesn’t go with “manly” activities like adventure movies and wrestling snakes.  I for one would never do something as stupid as willingly go up against an anaconda, but dammit, I will choose an explosion-y action-packed movie or a zombie-slashing video game over a tired rom-com any day!

Is it all just in good fun?  The company marketer says so.  But I really think Dr. Pepper screwed up here.  They are alienating their female base by continuing this marketing in an effort to reach more of a male demographic.

And just so you know, Dr. Pepper, it’s your female base who does the majority of the grocery shopping.

What do you think?  Has Dr. Pepper made a mistake in the way it presents its new product?  Comment and share your opinion!

Read Mae Anderson’s article, “Dr. Pepper Ten: Because Men Don’t Drink Diet Soda?” here:


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