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 looking for a significant other, it’s important to me that they are open minded and an independent thinker.” –Male, 15, CA

Constant internet access via smartphones helped created the issue of cyberbullying, but could it also help to end it? New app Stop!t was created by a concerned dad to make it quick, easy, and effective for kids to anonymously report any bullying incident they see on social media. Previous digital efforts to fight cyberbullying required multiple steps in order to file a report, but Stop!t will allow students to report bullying with a single click, even if the app isn’t open. The app has been tested in several schools, and seen positive results so far, with one school reporting an 80% reduction in cyberbullying incidents compared to the previous year. (Fast Company)

Snapchat has an important message for its young users: “keep your clothes on!” 53% of 13-17-year-olds use Snapchat, according to Ypulse’s most recent social media tracker survey, and the app has long battled a reputation as a sexting haven. New community guidelines recently posted by the app are serving as a gentle, but stern reminder for minors to “Keep it legal.” Team Snapchat is trying to pull in the reigns on inappropriate sharing, threats, bullying, and invasions of privacy, and violating the rules could result in content removal, suspension, or being banned from the app. (New York Daily NewsSnapchat)

Will marketing healthy foods using the same tactics as unhealthy products get young consumers to eat them? The Partnership for a Healthier American and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign are going to find out. They’re launching an effort that rebrands fruits and vegetables as “FNV,” uses celebrities like Jessica Alba and Cam Newton as spokespeople, and relies heavily on social media to convince kids that healthy is cool. While undoubtedly a worthy cause, the campaign’s success is uncertain and has been described as “cringeworthy.” (brandchannel)

"C’mon get happy" seems to be the motto of big brands in 2015, as they focus on messages of positivity and joy to appeal to young consumers. One recent study says brands that “help Millennials achieve happiness” are the most likely to earn their loyalty. McDonald’s Pay With Lovin’, Coke’s #MakeItHappy, and Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful campaigns are recent examples of campaigns attempting to engage with positive messaging, but brands who want to follow suit should remember young consumers will see through any “hollow” attempts that tell them just buying a product will make them happier. (Adweek)

Young viewers maybe be drawn to digital video because they find online stars and content more “enjoyable and relevant to their lives” than traditional TV and Hollywood A-listers. A new study by Defy Media—who it should be noted produces content for YouTube—found that 62% of 13-24-year-olds say digital content makes them “feel good,” compared to 40% who said the same of TV; and 67% say they can relate to digital content, versus only 41% who relate to TV. YouTubers also hold a high power of purchase: 63% said they’d try a product recommended by a YouTube celebrity. (Variety)

The Daily Instant Poll gives you a quick snapshot of how Millennials are weighing in on the topics that are making headlines, but there's more to our mobile network of 2 million Millennials than what makes the newsletter. Ten of our most recent featured Instant Poll results are available to Ypulse.com Silver and Gold subscribers, allowing them to compare the responses of various demographics. (Ypulse)

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