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 really want to visit Tokyo, Japan to see the culture behind the growth of video games, and to eat the food.”—Male, 29, MA

Millennials are ruling music streaming when compared to Gen X and Boomers. A new survey by U.K. streaming service Electric Jukebox shows that 16% of 14-34-year-olds have active subscriptions, compared to 6% of 35-55-year-olds, and 3% of 55 and older. Although they have far more time and spending power, streaming services may currently be too complex for older consumers. In fact, 40% of young Gen X, 42% of old Gen X, and 49% of Boomers choose CDs and radio as the easier option over streaming, while almost half of 18-24-year-olds chose streaming over radio and CDs. (Music Ally

A mom of two has gone viral for her happy Chewbacca video, which has become Facebook Live’s most-watched clip ever. Last week, Candace Payne utilized the platform’s new live feature to show off her latest purchase from Kohl’s: a Star WarsChewbacca mask. Her enthusiasm and infectious laugh generated about 101 million views and got the retailer’s attention. Kohl’s teamed up with social agency Huge to deliver piles of Star Wars toys and $2,500 in Kohl’s gift cards to the micro-famous mom as thanks for her loyalty. (Adweek

In an effort to attract Millennial investors, Starbucks has issued a $500 million U.S. corporate bond for sustainable projects. The sustainability bond is the first for the coffee brand, and will go towards supporting programs for farmers in coffee-growing regions. Last year, Starbucks promised to plant up to one million trees for every coffee bag purchased, which drew in a new group of socially conscious investors. Their latest strategy will continue to strengthen their bond with 18-24-year-olds consumers, who account for 40% of the company’s sales. According to Accenture, Millennials will accumulate some $30 trillion from the generations before them, making them a target market for investors. (Fortune

What’s the secret to beauty box subscriptions’ success? Millennials. Services like Birchbox and GLOSSYBOX have resonated with curious young consumers who are looking for new beauty products and “love the idea of self-indulgence.” Subscription brands have attracted Millennials through social media social influencers. Vloggers’ “unboxing videos” pull in a substantial audience, with one such video receiving 100,000 views in a few days. Male-focused subscription boxes like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club have also found success with Millennial men for their value and convenience. (Mic

The Great Recession may have caused financial instability, but it didn’t stop “foodie” culture. While dining-out expenditures dipped slightly between 2007 to 2008, they quickly rebounded in 2012, even though income levels had not. Although Millennials especially felt the effects of the recession, they have been linked to the “sustainability of the ‘foodie’ ideology.” To get through the financial crises, Millennials opted to consume experiences instead of expensive material goods like houses or cars. As a result, food has become part of the new status symbols and acts as a form of “social currency.” (Eater

Quote of the Day: “The most important part of prom is the honor of being asked by an upperclassmen.”—Male, 15, NY

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