Watch any romantic comedy and a familiar scene is bound to play out. Boy meets girl; they end up in a bar; drinks lead into a blossoming love and the rest is cinematic gold. Rarely would you stop to consider what these two crazy kids are drinking at the bar, yet it is likely that the bright-eyed gal is sipping on a “girlie” beverage with a tropical garnish and the male would likely be clutching something brown, in a rocks glass.
That scene does little more than prove that most romantic comedies follow a pattern, but my guess is that it also sparked something in the brains of the marketing team at the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, when they were evaluating strategies for their latest creation – Dr. Pepper Ten.
The new low-calorie drink is decidedly “not for women,” as boldly declared on their metal gray can and cannot ever be confused as such with their bravado advertising campaign. The commercials, which feature mock action scenes, ATV rides through jungle and of course, machine guns, fuel the claim that low calorie soda can be “manly.”
But what remains to be seen is whether their gamble on shutting out women, in a category currently dominated by women-friendly products, will work? Other diet/low-calorie soda brands such as Coke Zero and Pepsi Max have begun catering to the male audience, but they do so without out rightly excluding women.
Either way, Dr. Pepper Ten has dug its stake into the ground and established itself as a challenger product in a market that is declining. The once robust $74 billion soft drink industry has slipped in recent years due to the rise of healthy options such as bottled juices and water. By creating a boys-only club, maybe the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group will help to grow back some of their weakening sales – or just alienate a lot of their base in the process.
The fate of this product is now up to the public to decide whether Dr. Pepper Ten truly is a manly beverage or just really provocative marketing. One thing is for sure, I’m sticking with my Diet Coke and my cosmopolitan with extra garnish.