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: “Political correctness is a two-way street of respect and telling the truth.”—Female, 17, WI

One teacher has declared war on homework. A note that has gone viral on Facebook and Reddit outlines a teacher’s new policy that homework will be limited to the work that students did not complete during the school day. They explain, “Research had been unable to prove that homework improves student performance, Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eating dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.” Schools in Massachusetts have also adopted a “no homework” policy, signifying the start of a larger trend. (Mashable

Adidas is winning out with young consumers of all ages in China. According to RTG Consulting Group’s brand relevance report, Chinese Millennials and teens agree on similar brands as the most relevant in the apparel and footwear industry. Adidas came in first for both groups, for its products and social media strategy, and Zara, Uniqlo, and Nike followed. The least relevant fashion brand was H&M for Millennials, and Converse for teens. (Sourcing Journal

Game developer Blizzard is using the Broken Windows Theory—the idea that disorder breeds more disorder—in its war with cyber bullying. For its team-based shooter game Overwatch, Blizzard has implemented a chatbot to keep an eye out for negative phrases and turn them into “charming, self-effacing statements.” For example, “gg ez,” a commonly used phrase to let opponents know that victory was too easy, is automatically turned into phrases like "I'm wrestling with some insecurity issues in my life but thank you all for playing with me." The developer hopes that by hiding toxic behaviors, others won’t be encouraged to do the same. (Motherboard

Millennials are more likely than Boomers to marry someone with a different approach to finances. A recent TD Ameritrade survey asked respondents to categorize themselves as either savers or as spenders, and found that although more than half of Millennials and Boomers agree that savers being married to savers prevents financial disagreements in a marriage, 66% of Boomer savers are married to other savers, compared to 52% of Millennial savers. The younger generation is also more comfortable with it: only 23% of Millennial savers said they wouldn’t be happy with a spender, versus 40% of Boomers. (Investor’s Business Daily

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, schools should be teaching coding as a second language. Computer programming been shown to help “kids see the world algorithmically, in patterns, and in cause and effect,” and some experts say coding education is crucial for kids to stay competitive. Although the youth of North America are well versed in Snapchat and YouTube language, one media theorist argues: "Unless kids understand how [the platforms they use] ­­are created…they're at a disadvantage to those who do know how to build and take apart these platforms." In the British Columbia province of Canada, students will soon be required to take coding from Grades 6-9. (CBC News)

Quote of the Day: “I follow the news because it’s there and I can't avoid it.”—Female, 28, ME

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