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…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I like Netflix because it helps to pass the time, especially when I'm doing something boring such as folding clothes.”

—Female, 16, IL

Sephora is stepping up its mobile efforts to create “addictive shopping experiences." To re-launch their private label the Sephora Collection, the beauty brand took a page from dating app Tinder, introducing a feature that allows users to browse looks and swipe left to pass, or swipe right to buy from Sephora.com. Eventually, they hope to add more “user-generated” looks with consumers’ photos. They also added the “beauty uncomplicator," a tool that helps users “whittle through thousands of makeup and beauty tools to find what they're looking for,” by filling in the blanks like Mad Libs. (Adweek

Barbie’s image makeover seems to have made a positive impression. The once-struggling franchise has seen 11% year-to-date gains and a recent 23% sales increase, despite Mattel’s other girl brands experiencing losses. Mattel credits the iconic doll’s new content marketing for its “better-than-expected earnings.” The “You Can Be Anything” campaign launched last fall, focusing on empowering and inspiring girls, and including unscripted video content aimed at Millennial parents to increase confidence in the brand and appeal to their desire for purpose-driven toys. (MediaPost

Not even alcohol can escape the “healthifying” movement. Alcohol brands are expanding their product lines to include “a host of gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, all-natural, low- and no-alcohol drinks,” to cater to the Millennials and their increasing desire for healthier and “free-from” products. Non-alcoholic beverages that look still look “adult” have also taken off, as more young consumers are choosing to drink less. Diageo, the world’s largest spirits maker, is testing dairy and gluten-free Baileys liqueur, launching a Smirnoff vodka made with real fruit juice, and recently invested in Seedlip, a nonalcoholic distilled “spirit.” (MarketWatch

Young consumers want their financial institutions to be mobile. According to the 2016 FIS Consumer Banking PACE Index, 81% of Millennials are accessing their accounts on a computer or laptop, and 63% are accessing on their mobile phones on a monthly basis. They are 30% less likely than Baby Boomers to visit a bank location or use a drive-thru, and are 17% more likely to pay a bill from their bank through a mobile device. It’s crucial for banks to adapt to their needs—especially as over seven in ten Millennials with bank accounts anticipate at least one financial-focused life event to occur over the next 36 months. (Mashable

Over six in ten Millennials would rather lose their cars than their phones, according to a recent Wall Street study. The research looked into the attitudes and investment preferences of wealthy 18-35-year-olds globally to “restructure how the firm communicates with clients and prospects in the future.” The study also found that 50% of wealthy Millennials say they are “politically unaffiliated,” and 61% are worried about the state of the world and feel responsible for making a difference. Wall Street’s biggest challenge might be their “quick trigger” on underperforming mutual funds, with less than 20% saying they would hold on to one for more than a year. (Breitbart

Quote of the Day: “My favorite online celebrity is Jenna Marbles because she is hilarious and weird. I like how honest she is.”

— Female, 22, CA

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies