Dr Pepper faces the wrath of female consumers in the wake of its “Not For Women” diet drink campaign

Dr Pepper faces the wrath of female consumers in the wake of its “Not For Women” diet drink campaign

Females fail to see the funny side of Dr Pepper’s latest campaign, showing the risks brands face when they overtly alienate a specific demographic and draw on old-fashioned gender stereotypes in their advertising.

Many brands, such as Old Spice, Coors Light, Gucci and Lynx, play into gender stereotypes in their campaigns, managing to entertain rather than offend consumers, by maintaining a playful and inclusive tone. Dr Pepper is the latest brand to try this strategy, to promote its new low-calorie drink, ‘Dr Pepper Ten’, aimed at men who want a more ‘manly’ diet drink. With an advert featuring macho men in a battle scene discussing ‘men's’ movies, a tagline that reads “It’s Not For Women” and a Facebook page that is only accessible by men, Dr Pepper is leaving no one in doubt about the product’s target market. But has Dr Pepper overstepped the mark and pushed its female consumers away through the campaign’s sexist undertones?

Wavemetrix analysis reveals that, while the campaign certainly gets people talking and humours some, it generates significant levels of negative discussion, particularly amongst women who view the campaign as “sexist” and “stupid”. Men, too, describe being offended by the advert, which they feel “portrays them as sexist fools”. Criticism around the campaign does not stop at the marketing itself, with consumers laying into the Dr Pepper brand and products, and women stating that they will drink what they like and would be happy to “find alternative refreshment that doesn’t offend [their] girly sensibilities”.

The campaign generates significant levels of negative buzz, particularly amongst women:

  • 70% of discussion comes from men: Dr Pepper is successfully engaging its target market. Many men describe the advert as “awesome” and “funny”. However, over a third are negative, complaining that the campaign is “ridiculously sexist” and “absurdly offensive”
  • 30% of discussion comes from women, with the vast majority criticising the brand and campaign: Females describe the campaign as “sexist”, “backwards” and “ridiculous”. One woman states that “great marketing campaigns don’t immediately alienate and insult 50% of the market” and another says Dr Pepper “doesn’t have to worry about me buying your product ever again”
Half of product and brand discussion generated from the campaign is negative:
  • Response to the marketing campaign is mixed: although 55% find the campaign entertaining, it receives a huge amount of criticism from angry consumers who regard it as “sexist”, “stupid” and “disgusting”
  • The campaign also generates discussion around the Dr Pepper brand and products, half of which is negative: the campaign drives consumers, both male and female, to complain about the “nasty” brand, with consumers telling Dr Pepper that they will no longer buy their products and they hope they get sued. Others criticise the drinks, claiming they taste like “cough medicine” and “prune juice” and saying they “will stick to beer, thank you”


Anonymous 16th January 2012

#4, you are obviously a man and therefore a stupid, Neanderthal. Congratulations, you managed to insult both men and women. Your parents must be proud ::rolls eyes::. Grow up.

Anonymous 23rd October 2011

You have found it worth living labatterie and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.

Anonymous 20th October 2011

The fact that any sane human being can find the fact that they said this beverage is for men to be a sexist statement(defining sexist as proliferating the idea that one gender is superior to the other) is disappointing beyond all reasoning. The company saying that their diet soda brand is manly in no way insinuates sexist connotations, and any person who assumes otherwise is likely just looking for something to be mad about in the first place. Seriously now, its a damn sub brand of a soda that said that the drink was made for men. Big damn woop, because number one it obviously isnt, and number two anyone who has already accepted the fact that it is a joke and somehow takes it as a personal assault on the female gender regardless of that fact is being highly irrational. That being said diet soda is lame and so are all womens opinions because men are smarter.

Anonymous 20th October 2011

On the off chance this post was not meant to be satirical and mock those who think there is nothing wrong with this sexist ad, allow me to respond as such:

The commercial immediately shames stereotypical "feminine" traits and paints the picture that if you partake in them, you are not manly and therefore not worthy of their drink. The implication is that this perceived masculinity is not only better, but that being a female or interested in something associated with females is actually BAD. It doesn't say, "Hey, you are masculine, have this drink!" it says, "Hey, you are masculine, which is SO MUCH BETTER than feminine, and feminine things suck and we're sick of them so have this drink which is TOTALLY NOT FEMININE!"

It's offensive to both men and women, casting men as misogynistic fools and telling them what they can and cannot like in order to qualify as manly, and alienates and belittles their female audience.

It's sexist, it's in the wrong time period, and it needs to go.

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