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: “I want to buy a home in the future to be able to own and modify my own space. “ –Female, 32, NE

Apple Music is here, but some say that Millennials won’t pay for it. The new music streaming service launched yesterday, and will cost users $9.99 a month to stream the entire iTunes catalog. However, young consumers are adept at getting their music for free, and the CEO of CMJ predicts “for major music audiences at college level and younger music fans…they will be heavily inclined to stay with and find new ‘free’ services,’” (The Daily Beast)

Salad is so hot right now. Farm-to-table salad chain sweetgreen has raised another $35 million to “satisfy Millennial salad cravings.” The chain will likely continue their expansion, and appealing to younger diners with menu items like “Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe” and branded music festivals. Tech is also a part of their plan: sweetgreen is also developing their ordering app, which already handles 25% of all their transactions. (TechCrunch)

They may have grown up with “Made In China” stamped on the bottom of all their toys, but Millennials may be “the most passionate” about products that are made in America. According to a Ford Motor Company poll, 91% of 16-34-year-olds believe that manufacturers in the U.S. make products that are equal or better quality as foreign competitors, and 74% believe purchasing American-made products is important. (We did tell you they’re patriotic) (Washington Examiner)

Earlier this week we told you about Marriott’s efforts to adjust to young consumers’ traveling preferences, and it looks like rooftop bars are only the beginning. The brand has partnered with Universal Music Group to bring music performances by rising and established artists to hotel lobbies. Jessie J kicked off the venture yesterday in London, and all performances will be free to the hotel guests. (LA Times)

Is the sharing economy hurting Millennials? Some experts are saying that while all this car sharing, home sharing, and rent-everything behavior is well and good in the short term, young consumers “are missing out on recouping the gains from owning appreciating assets.” The idea is that the share economy is delaying Millennials' wealth-accumulation, and contributing to their downward mobility. Ouch. (Time)

Our most recent trend report is now available! The Q2 2015 Ypulse Quarterly covers three major trends we see impacting young consumers, and includes recently fielded data on 13-32-year-olds, Ypulse’s expertise, the most relevant takeaways for brands who want to appeal to Millennials and teens, and tons of other insights. The Q2 2015 report is available to Gold subscribers, and one-off pricing is $1250. (Click here to contact us for information on accessing the report or to learn more about subscribing.

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