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: “A major life milestone that happened this year was that I met my idol, Taylor Swift.” –Female, 22, CA

MTV’s Video Music Awards are still being discussed, thanks in large part to Kanye West’s epic acceptance speech, and the ratings for the Millennial-targeted show are in. While traditional TV viewing numbers were slightly lower, digital streaming of the awards were much higher than years past. In fact, streaming increased 155%, and the show was tweeted about 21.4 million times. The numbers reflect young consumers’ continued migration from the traditional broadcast structure. (MediaPost)

Music is huge on Vine, and now the platform’s young users can access some official tracks to put behind their looped clips. Last week, the Music on Vine feature launched, providing a (currently small) library of licensed music to creators. The  new tool is “a first step toward working with the industry before it starts to face similar copyright issues,” and could lead to future monetary opportunities. (Recode)

Weed is officially more popular on college campuses than tobacco. According to research of college students nationwide, 40% report using some sort of illicit drug over the last year, up from 36% in 2006, and that increase is largely due to an increase in marijuana use. When looking at daily use, nearly 6% of students report smoking weed every day, compared to 5% who say they smoke cigarettes daily. (SlateWSJ)

Millennials catch a lot of flack for always having their faces is a screen, but when it comes down to it, they’d prefer to talk in person. Recent research from a call center claims that 85% of working Millennials would rather meet and communicate in-person with co-workers, followed by email and talking on the phone. When it comes to customer service, 76% would rather call a brand to deal with an issue, compared to only 1% who say they would want to use social media to contact a company. (betanews)

When it comes to video content for Millennials, success is being found in the extremes. Long-form and extreme looped short-form—15 seconds or less—are both effective, according to Tumblr’s creative strategy director. To get that content in front of them, it’s about going where they are: “Millennials are not thinking about medium or format—they’re thinking about where they want to spend time discovering things, being entertained and ultimately seeing video." (alistdaily)

Quote of the Day: “Right now, I’m living at home with my parents and completing my education while also working.” –Female, 21, CA

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