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: “The type of commercials that stick in my memory are the ones that make me evaluate my life.”—Female, 28, SD

To Millennials, being a geek is a good thing. Imgur’s research (conducted by Ypulse) reveals that 60% of Millennials consider themselves geeks or are into geeky things, compared to just 38% of Xers and Boomers, and the majority don’t believe the geek label is a bad thing. These Millennial geeks are trendsetters, politically and culturally engaged, and highly influential: 84% say people look to them for advice on a topic, compared to 60% of non-geeks, and 67% say they know about things before they go viral, compared to 48% of non-geeks. However, Millennial geek influencers are not easy to reach, with 76% using adblockers and 32% feeling like brands can’t relate to them. (AdweekMediaPost

Half of 12-18-year-olds feel they are addicted to their phones, according to Common Sense Media’s new poll. Although not enough research exists to define digital addiction currently, teens are clearly dependent on their devices: 80% say they check their phones hourly, and 72% said they feel a need to respond to text and social media messages immediately. Parents are in agreement, with 59% saying their children are addicted, and 36% saying they argue daily with their children over mobile use. The bright side is there are signs they are aware too much time on devices might be bad: 37% say they are very often or occasionally trying to cut down. (CNN)

BuzzFeed, which is producing 600 pieces of content daily, has grown their audience views from 2.8 billion monthly to 7 billion in the past year. They attribute their success to “truly understand[ing] what today's audiences want,” and being able to monitor reactions to content. They report that three quarters of their content is consumed outside of their actual site. Facebook is where they thrive: the social network contributes 33% of their views, more than their own platforms at 23%. Tasty, their food entertainment division, has become "its own BuzzFeed," averaging 360 million users monthly. (Adweek

Going viral is not always a good thing. Down to Lunch is a simple meet-up app inspired by “the experience of living in their freshman-year dorms,” connecting users with their contacts to facilitate lunch, “chill,” or “blaze” meet-ups. But as it began to gain traction, becoming “wildly popular college campuses,” fake reviews claiming the app was used for human trafficking also began to go viral—decreasing user growth by 90% over two days. The founders were able to fight the accusations, and the popular app peaked at  No.2 on iPhone download charts in April. (Business Insider)

According to The New York Times the future of journalism is virtual reality. At the NewFronts this week, the Times outlined their new digital strategy, concentrated on an R&D lab where journalists, technologists, and brands will create video series and 360-degree videos. Last year the publication delivered a million Google Cardboard virtual reality headsets to subscribers, leading to 600,000 downloads of their VR app, which they call “the leading mobile app for high quality VR content.” The company plans to cover the Olympic games in Rio, space exploration, and more in VR this year. (Fortune

Quote of the Day: “A wedding trend I have noticed is not having a photographer, and just having friends take all the pictures.”—Female, 18, CO

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