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: “When I hear the phrase ‘The American Dream’ I think of 1950s cliches, the economic downturn of 2008, and how college debt has pretty much made it impossible.” –Female, 17, RI

We know Millennials have delayed going down the aisle, but how do they really compare to the generations before them? Over 30% of Millennial women will have stayed unmarried by age 40, “nearly twice the share of their Gen X counterparts.” Even if the marriage rate returns to pre-recession levels, Millennials will not catch up to Gen X marriage rates. The dip in married couples could have economic repercussions, as they are “often better off financially.” (CNNMoney)

25-34-year-olds (mostly older Millennials) are the most likely travelers to use mobile search and social media “to resolve a travel problem,” with close to 40% relying on a mobile solution to their issues and quandaries. Travel info startup Skift is calling this group the “silent traveler,” and the increasing number of travelling Millennials will likely make the number of silent travelers grow as well. In response, the industry is shifting efforts to mobile: 20% of Delta’s check-ins now come through their app. (MediaPost)

A recent survey covering Millennials’ political and economic views has some pointing fingers and saying the generation’s political views are “incoherent,” and “confused.” But others say they aren’t any more confused about economics than anyone else, and contradictory political opinions are not abnormal. One important takeaway that is often overlook is that a generation of over 97 million in the U.S. cannot all be painted with one brush, and that some of the contradictions in beliefs are likely due to various segments' contrasting views. (NYTimes)

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a workplace trend that some IT departments may find frustrating, and not surprisingly it’s younger employees who are the biggest BYOD culprits. 70% of 18-33-year-olds admit that they break corporate rules and use outside apps (think Dropbox and Evernote) at work. Of those, 50% said they do it because approved apps aren’t good enough, and 60% said they didn’t think it was a security problem for their company. (Recode)

The app French Girls has been around for some time, but it is continuing to gain momentum—or at least to entertain the internet. (Yes, it is named after Titanic’s classic “Draw me like one of your French girls” line.) Users can submit selfies to the French Girl community and receive back digitally drawn versions of their likeness, often creatively interpreted. (Uproxx)

Quote of the Day: “If a photo of me went viral, I would feel angry but…maybe I would be a little excited because it went viral, as long as the picture is not bad.” –Female, 16, TN

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