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: “My biggest financial priority right now is to pay off my car loan and afford a wedding of about $50,000.“ – Female, 29, NJ

Facebook is getting more emotional. The platform is adding Reactions, a new set of emoji icons that allow users to convey emotions beyond “Like,” including “Sad,” “Angry,” and “Wow.” Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing says the buttons will help brands, “understand on a multi-dimensional level how people are feeling about the things that they're posting." (AdAge)

Parents are currently told that children under two-years-old should have no screen time—a pretty unrealistic tip for modern, mobile Millennial caregivers. But the American Academy of Pediatrics may be updating that advice to keep up with the times. A reported 30% of children in the U.S. first play with mobile devices while they’re still in diapers, and the AAP now says that “in a world where screen time is becoming simply  ‘time,’ our policies must evolve or become obsolete.” (Washington Post)

Amazon is already Millennials’ favorite place to shop online or off, and now the e-commerce giant has launched an Etsy rival. Amazon’s new Handmade platform will bring together creators of artisan, “factory-free” goods, launching with 5,000 sellers. Creators must be vetted by Amazon to ensure products are handmade, and some items will be eligible for Amazon Prime. (The Daily BeastFortune)

With more Millennials delaying marriage, more twentysomethings are not going to weddings—but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the party. Falsa Boda is a company throwing fake weddings for Argentinian Millennials who want to attend a wedding, without the hassle of actually getting married. The parties include all the elements of a wedding ceremony and reception, including a couple that re-enacts marriage vows. (BuzzFeed)

A new category of toys is combining the power of children's imagination with the amplifying magic of technology, to appeal to a generation of kids for whom “real-world activities can seem unexciting." Disney’s new augmented reality coloring book pairs with a tablet to make the characters and kids' drawing come to life in 3D and in real-time, taking their physical play and creating a digital enhancement. (Marketing Magazine)

Quote of the Day: “When I turn 14 soon I can get a job if I want and start saving for my first car with that money and the money I make on eBay.” –Male, 13, FL

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