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: “Adventure Time is the show that best represents my generation because we like the nostalgic aspect of watching cartoons but we also like off-the-wall plots.” –Male, 21, MI 

Snapchat is ready to take over another space: teens’ faces. The app is introducing Spectacles, a new wearable that combines sunglasses and a camera, allowing wearers to capture video of their point of view and share it immediately to their Snapchat Memories. Though comparisons to Google Glass are inevitable, these specs come in bright colors and cool designs, making them more aesthetically appealing—a vital element for wearables’ success. While some might be skeptical of Spectacles, if they are as popular as Snapchat’s other efforts, “the youth will have made wearables cool in the blink of an eye.” (The Next Web)

Campaigns encouraging young consumers to vote are a hallmark of election season—but in 2012, 62% of young Americans reportedly didn’t cast a vote. So this year Rock the Vote has partnered with Doritos to spread the voting message in a unique way. The brand created a limited edition pack of “no-choice” chips with no flavor, no crunch, and boring packaging to show that not voting allows someone else to choose for you, and you might not get what you want. For a spot promoting voting registration, Doritos created a vending machine that dispensed the flavorless chips to any not registered to vote. (Creativity Online)

According to Alton Brown, Millennials have forever changed food entertainment. Ten years ago, cooking shows were all about simple instruction, but the generation’s “preference for bolder, edgier programs” and cooking savvy has changed the content and expanded the “food media landscape” beyond the TV screen. Those Millennial foodies, who might have watched Brown’s “kid-friendly” Good Eats growing up or on Netflix, are the audience for his new web series, designed specifically for mobile. For these viewers, all content will be under five minutes, and “f it doesn’t work on a phone, [he’s] not going to do it.” (Business InsiderFast Company)

Cheetos is bringing their museum back for Halloween. The brand’s summer contest asking consumers to submit their uniquely shaped Cheetos for cash prizes was reportedly one of their most “successful digital engagement programs of all time,” generating over 100,000 stories and photos. Thanks to that success, the brand is rebooting the effort, asking fans to build a Cheetos Monster with the snacks for a chance to win $50K. Turning brands or products into an experience a major marketing trend to attract young consumers. (MediaPost)

Millennials might use more apps than older generations, but they’re also spending more time on their top ranked apps than anyone else. According to comScore data, there are 20 apps that 25% of 18-34-year-olds are using monthly, compared to just 15 among those over 35-years-old. But the top 10 apps among the group are receiving 50% of Millennials’ mobile time, indicating that while younger mobile users have a more diverse range of apps they’re using, their few favorites are still getting the majority of their attention. (comScore)

Quote of the Day: “Bojack Horseman was my favorite show last year because it was funny and real. Maybe too real, just beautiful.”–Male, 23, AZ

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