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: “Already-made costumes usually don't look all that good and are overpriced. Another MAJOR issue is what do I do with that wholly bought costume [after Halloween]? I don't want to store a Hobbit costume all year, or throw it away.” –Male, 27, CA

Kids might still have Frozen fever (bets on how many Elsas we’ll see this Halloween?) but Disney is ready to build buzz for their next princess movie. This week the first artwork for Moana, the story of a Polynesian princess sailing the Pacific, was released, along with news that the film will be out in 2016. Moana will be the fifth non-white Disney princess, which our Instant Poll results today show should align with viewers’ wishes. (Vulture)

High-end designers continue to make children’s clothing to outfit the best dressed generation, and fashion for the pre-teen set is looking more sophisticated than ever: GapKids’ collaboration with kate spade new york and Jake Spade is hitting stores for just two weeks on October 30th, featuring kid versions of some of the labels’ bright and colorful signature pieces. While Gap’s campaign telling adults to “dress normal”missed the mark—and isn’t doing any favors for their sales—we suspect this more whimsical pint sized capsule collection will have parents lining up. (Nitrolicious

How big has The Walking Dead gotten? The post-zompocalyptic gore-fest is so popular that ratings for its first two episodes beat out Sunday Night Football among “the demo that really matters,” viewers 18-49-years-old. Dead’s victory over football could be because this audience thought the games airing weren’t interesting. But if the ratings trend continues, it could be potential evidence that football is losing Millennial fans. (UproxxDeadline)

For teens today, fights in the hallway can lead to much worse than getting detention; students are actually being arrested for misbehavior in schools. Even smaller disciplinary issues like chewing gum, wearing too much perfume, or in one case eating another student’s chicken nuggets, can result in misdemeanor charges. The increased presence of police on campuses, and rise in teachers reporting misbehavior to local authorities, “has turned traditional school discipline…into something that looks more like the adult criminal-justice system.” (WSJ)

Millennial populations in small towns and rural areas might be “ticking slightly upward,” but that growth is no match for the continued trend of urbanization that the generation is spurring. Millennials are also moving en masse to the “fancier suburbs” of big cities, and reportedly Arlington, VA has seen an 82% growth in members of the generation from 2007 to 2013. Small towns feel limiting to these young consumers, who are still flocking to more bustling areas despite the fact that they are more expensive. (NPR)

Our Infographic Snapshots are data visualizations that take our proprietary bi-weekly survey stats and synthesize them to tell a story about this generation’s behaviors and views. From political stances to social media use to spending, we illustrate how many, how much, and how often. These helpful infographics are available to our Gold and Silver subscribers. (Ypulse)

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