n an effort to expand the market for diet soda, Dr. Pepper has launched an ad campaign to sell a new, 10-calorie drink to men. Rival sodas Coke Zero and Pepsi Max are also being marketed to men, but the blitz introducing Dr. Pepper Ten pushes the strategy to a new level. The company is offering samples of the soft drink in a mobile "Man Cave," and an ad states flatly that the sugary sweet soda is "not for women." Will this be enough to get more guys interested in diet soft drinks?
No, this is major overkill: Dr. Pepper is trying to do what Coke and Pepsi couldn't, says Margaret Hartmann in Jezebel, and sell to guys who think diet drinks are only "for girls." But Coke Zero and Pepsi Max are selling well, even if their NASCAR and Super Bowl ads didn't make them as macho as hoped. Dr. Pepper might soon learn that it's unwise to "launch a new brand by telling half the potential customers that the product is not for them."
"Dr Pepper Ten is "not for woman"
Sure, marketing by gender can work: "In the world of marketing, apparently keeping the sexes separate, is important," says marketing strategist Dave Ibsen in his blog. It worked for Secret, the deodorant whose makers insist it's "strong enough for a man, but made for a woman." Men clearly have a problem with the idea of a zero-calorie soda — maybe Dr. Pepper Ten's small number of "bold" calories will make it appear more manly than the competition.
"Dr. Pepper Ten: Just enough calories to satisfy the male ego"
Forget marketing — taste is what counts: Dr. Pepper might get men's attention with its muscular, "Rambo style" commercials, says Sophie S. Benvenuti at Gather. And men might be more likely to go for a drink with 10 calories than one with none. But the real test is in the flavor. If Dr. Pepper Ten doesn't taste very close to the original, sugary version, men won't buy it.
"Dr. Pepper 10: Is it really a manly diet drink?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- Why are so many elderly Asians killing themselves?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Driverless cars may be an environmental disaster
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- The Daily Show has some fun mocking the CPAC power players
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
Subscribe to the Week