How to Market to Millennial Males: A Dr. Pepper Ten Case Study

Dr. Pepper Ten 1In 2011, Dr. Pepper decided to launch their new diet soda in a big, and very specific, way. In an attempt to capture the young male market, the ten-calorie drink, Dr. Pepper Ten, was launched as a light beverage for guys only. “It’s not for women” was chosen as the slogan of the campaign, and commercial spots featuring aggressive, action-movie hero-like men racing through the jungle swigging cans of the soda were broadcast.

Reactions to the first commercial for the diet soda “not for women” were not positive. At all. The reliance on a hyper-macho depiction of men, shooting lasers at each other and deriding all things girly, was of course condemned as sexist; but it also did not mesh with the kind of masculinity that Gen Y men have cultivated for themselves. The message did not ring true to a group accustomed to blending traditionally masculine concepts with their own current conventions (if not rejecting typical macho expectations completely).

This was not a subtle depiction of what modern men should be. Any possibility it could be interpreted as facetious was undone by its bossy, directive tone. Parallel to the overall message that Dr. Pepper Ten is not for women were prescriptive orders on how to be a man. The campaign included an app that dispensed “man’ments:” orders like, “Thou Shalt Not Pucker Up. Kissy faces are never manly,” and the Facebook page for the soda allowed visitors play a game shooting at feminine items like lipstick and heels.

Some wondered if the machismo-reliant, no-girls-allowed approach would alienate women too much for Dr. Pepper Ten to be a success. But the real question should have been whether the portrayal of masculinity was the right tactic to take to capture the demographic the brand was clearly so desperate to attract: the Millennial male…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “Calling doctor offices takes too much time. If they don't have a patient portal where I can do everything online, I find another doctor. I couldn't find a dermatologist in my area who didn't require several phone calls, so I gave up.” –Female, 30, FL

Mobile devices are the first thing that 80% of Millennials reach for in the morning, and their digital dependence is seeping into more than just wake-up media. 88% have or would deposit a check by snapping a picture of it and 45% would want to pay bills the same way. The camera is the number one most important smartphone feature among this generation, and 33% even think a photo of their driver’s license could be put to good use as a way to enroll in anything from gym memberships to credit cards. (USA Today)

While online dating seems to give Millennials increasing hope of a modern day “happily ever after,” their happiness may be short-lived. Researchers from Stanford and MSU have found that breakups are more prevalent among couples, both married and unmarried, who met online than those who met in more traditional social settings. These stats are credited to simple facts: the mystery and risk of who is behind the other side of screen causes online relationships to take much longer to form into something real. (Jezebel)

To help heighten Millennial traffic, Jack-in-the-Box will feature an instant-win game promotion with prizes ranging from date night movie tickets to a two night VIP experience in Las Vegas. These big ticket offerings will capitalize on the healthy performance of their late-night menu, accounting for 16% of their sales in the first three quarters of this year. The chain has lost its once strong hold on the late-night market, and hopes to regain Millennial consumers with a menu of savory, mash-up items that they may not crave for lunch or dinner but become must haves after dark. (Huffington Post)

Millennial parents are more practical than ever, a trend we explore in-depth in the new edition of Ypulse Quarterly releasing tomorrow. Upcycling used clothing and embracing swaps are the kind of sustainability minded and money-conscious initiatives they support, so it’s no wonder that Kallio, a children’s clothing line made entirely from upcycled men’s shirts, reached its full funding on Kickstarter today.  The Brooklyn-based brand intends to invest in both the clothing line as well as a community workshop to teach sustainable design technique. (Fast Company)

While social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter seem to be dominating for innovative marketing efforts, Facebook still holds steady ground. In a small study of marketing professionals, digital platform Offerpop found that 92% of social marketing budgets will be spent on Facebook this holiday season. The survey from Offerpop also shows that 16% plan to spend money on Snapchat, but finds that 48% are hesitant to invest their budget in untested networks such as Yo and Wanelo. (The Drum)

Every other week we tap into our panel of 150,000+ Millennials in a survey of 1,000 14-32-year-olds to keep our finger on the pulse of trending topics, changing attitudes, and new norms among young consumers. The question library in the My Library tab on Ypulse.com allows Silver and Gold subscribers to see every question we’ve asked and how we’ve asked it for our entire history of bi-weekly surveys, and a search of Ypulse surfaces all the relevant related data that we’ve collected from young consumers. (Ypulse)

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