Andy Pilkington's recent articles
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”
- 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”