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: “I use cloth diapers, and a lot of my coworkers don't quite understand this. They aren't condescending, per say, but I do think that they judge my less mainstream parenting style. Also, several of my online mommy Facebook groups can be VERY judgy.” –Female, 26, IL

‘90s kids (older Millennials) remember many products from the decade that have now sadly passed out of their lives. But some of their undying nostalgia is being rewarded: Coca Cola has brought back their lemon lime flavored soda Surge thanks in part to a Facebook group called “The Surge Movement.” The soda is being sold exclusively through Amazon, and the first batch sold out in about an hour. (The Verge)

GIFs are invading marketing, and the medium is now seeping into mobile communication. Popkey is essentially a GIF keyboard for the new Apple operating system. The app allows users to search for appropriate reaction GIFs without leaving their chats, save frequently used GIFs, or select from popular featured files. The tool could appeal to young consumers who are more interested in communicating via images than text. (TechCrunch)

Millennials’ reputation for not caring about cars might not be the whole story, and we’ve heard that having a car actually is important to them—if brands can create cars they want. Toyota is imagining what that car would look like with their concept the U^2, a “city car” for Millennials, or in their words, the “entrepreneurial, urban driver.” The imagined car is customizable, with a removable front seat, an iPad central console, and a tailgate that can turn into a ramp. Though Toyota isn’t likely to produce the U^2, it is possible that some of its features will be integrated into upcoming models. (Wired)

Despite the fact that the platform is technically ad-free, brands have infiltrated Vine, and its “Vine famous” stars now regularly team with companies for creative advertising. The young social media savvy players—each with millions of followers—are also becoming involved in more traditional media: Brittany Furlan has landed a sketch comedy show deal, Nash Grier is working on a film career, and Shawn Mendes’ record topped the iTunes charts. (Adweek)

Financial services are not appealing to Millennials, and the disconnect between the industry and the generation isn’t likely to be solved by reaching out to these young consumers on the platforms they frequent. A recent global study found that less than 1% of Millennials want financial service providers to contact them through social media, and 59% believe they haven’t seen financial products that are targeted at “people like them.” (CNN)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. Your search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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