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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Quote of the Day: “I participated in Bikram Yoga, because I found a few YouTube tutorials on it.” –Female, 24, MN

Being featured in the (racy) lyrics of Beyoncé’s hit single “Formation” has caused Red Lobster’s sales to spike 33%. But a wave of frustration hit Twitter after the brand took too long to respond to the song, and failed to live up to expectations. One user advised,“Yo @redlobster, all you have to do is NOT f*** up. Just give the Twitter over to your highest ranking Black person under 33. Trust me.” But after eight hours Red Lobster tweeted an underwhelming: "Cheddar Bey Biscuits" has a nice ring to it,don't you think? #Formation @Beyonce.” The indecent highlights what young consumers expect from brands on social media. (MediaPostBuzzFeed)

The newly funded Stash investment app is hoping to “break down the barriers that prevent nearly three quarters of Millennials from investing.” To appeal to the risk-averse generation, the app allows users to invest as little as $5, and describes investments in easy theme-like terms, like “Clean and Green.” For the founders it’s all about setting up users for the long-term: “By lowering the minimum level of investment, enabling Millennials to invest in broad themes that they care about, and guiding them along the path toward building smart lifelong investment habits, Stash has the potential to empower an entire generation to reach their financial goals.” (Business Wire)

Fit has gone glam for Millennials—and not just in the U.S. Young Chinese women are embracing working out, and shifting traditional beauty ideals. In a 2003 survey, 1,000 working females cited an ideal body to be "an almost-emaciated, willowy physique," but social media and celebrity influence, as well as more awareness to physical health, are making strength the new goal. Women sharing their fitness journeys are becoming major influencers and creating new personal brands, and the fitness industry in China has grown 13% yearly since 2010. (Refinery29)

ESports—multi-player competitive video gaming—is expected to generate $463 million in ticket sales, merchandise, sponsorships, and advertising for 2016, and networks want a piece of the action. But can it translate to TV? TBS is premiering E-League, a 10-week eSports competition series that will stand as a true test on whether the phenomenon can “find the right balance between achieving scale and retaining its core audience of digitally forward young men.” Critics have good reason to be skeptical: ESPN2’s airing of an eSports college competition perplexed viewers, frustrated broadcasters, and scored a 0.1 Nielsen rating. (Adweek

British director Anthony Wilcox’s new action-packed thriller,Shield 5, is captivating audiences—the Instagram audience that is. The series, which currently has 30,000 followers, is being called “social cinema,” and each episode is the length of an Instagram video: just 15-seconds. Wilcox’s love for fast-turnaround projects and very low budget is what ultimately inspired him to choose the platform. There was also the potential to go viral: "If you’ve got the opportunity to show your work to a much, much bigger audience…all around the world, it might be worth trying it." (Fast Company

Quote of the Day: “I share my selfies by making it my profile picture.” —Female, 23, IL

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