Dr. Pepper Ten: Gendered Soda Advertising

I’ll preface this post with a heads up: I took quite a few Women’s Studies classes at UNC. Graduating with a minor in Sexuality Studies, it was bound to happy. And, though I never planned on it, VOILA I ended up a feminist.  The name of my game is equality, women’s rights, and all that good stuff.  Imagine my horror, all that considered, when I saw this little gem on the television:

I’ll give you a moment to digest that.

Got it?


If you were too busy to watch the 30 second clip, let me give you the cliffnotes version:

Dr. Pepper Ten is a new product from Dr. Pepper that is their take on a “manly” diet soda. With only 10 “manly” calories, no longer will you seem like a lady drinking diet soda. You’ll appear tough, rugged, and bold drinking Dr. Pepper Ten.

And, apparently, it’s not for women.


I can’t even say that I’m bothered by the “No Girls Allowed” part.  Whatever. I don’t want your stupid soda anyway.

I think what really gets me is this idea that “diet” soda is only for women. Or that men can handle 10 calories but women can’t.  Or whatever inane thought process fueled this ad campaign.

You know what else is 10 calories?

  • 1 navel orange segment
  • A SINGLE Whopper (the malted milk ball, not the burger, crazy!)
  • HALF of a pecan
  • 2.5 pistachios
  • 3 green grapes
(big thanks to Self Magazine for doing that math for us all)
My vote for the least manly looking ten calories?

Pink Lemonade Crystal Light, gentlemen?

This isn’t the first ad campaign that’s been all about gearing a product towards macho men (see: Axe Body Spray, Old Spice body wash) and it’s not the first “diet” soda that is trying to be diet without actually calling itself diet (see: Coke Zero, Pepsi Max).  But the whole idea behind these drinks being more appropriate for males vs. females just seems a little outrageous.

Anyone remember the Diet Pepsi skinny can?

Bottom line: People like the taste of soda, and they also like reducing their caloric intake (whether it’s to be “skinny” like the can or fit like the Dr. Pepper Ten Manly Men). And if/when I see a dude drinking Dr. Pepper Ten, I’m not going to think he’s more manly. I’m going to think he’s insecure about drinking  “diet” Dr. Pepper.

It’s just where my mind’s going to jump now that Dr. Pepper has launched this campaign making me painfully aware that it has less calories than regular Dr. Pepper but more than Diet Dr. Pepper.

We’ll see how this Dr. Pepper Ten fares… I have to admit, I’d love to do a taste test with the 3 Drs. themselves to see where my flavor preferences go.  I figure it’s the same morbid curiosity that drives me to want to try Chick Beer. I want to know if there’s more to this soda than a flashy ad campaign that pushes gender roles down the throats of viewers.

What’s your take on this whole “gendered” soda advertising?

Have you tried Dr. Pepper Ten? What did you think?

17 thoughts on “Dr. Pepper Ten: Gendered Soda Advertising

  1. Okay I think this is genius. Why? Because I’ve been advocating this (err, in my mind) for years. I don’t want all the sugar of a regular soda, but diet sodas are kind gross, so I was all about the 40 calorie soda. It’s no “Ten” but at least it’s a start. I’d try it. And I guess that means I’d be manly…oh well, I can handle it.

  2. I think I raged for an hour straight when I first saw this commercial. Explicitly gendered beverage advertising has been bad enough, but creating this absurdly misogynist commercial just to pander to men whose egos might be a little sore because — oh, boohoo — society apparently dictates that men don’t drink diet sodas…is reprehensible.

    That being said, Coke Zero — my favourite soda in existence — is purportedly aimed at the y-chromosome, so perhaps DP10 will be equally delicious, and I will grumpily drink it while desperately hoping they change their repulsive advertising campaign.

  3. I dont see anything wrong with the commercial. I dont look at it as if they are insulting women or making themselves look more “manly”. But if we want to see, we could make a soda can that looks like a penis and see if the men will drink it? I know I would.

  4. I just don’t really know if I think this whole campaign is ever worth the dollar amount spent to produce it. I think they kind of missed the target here and maybe alienated an audience, but still, is there really a big market out there for men who want their “own” diet soda? Hmm.. I say back to the drawing board Dr. Pep.

  5. I agree. And even more ridiculous, Hunni drinks diet soda and is offended by the campaign assuming he would only drink it if it’s called manly. He drinks Diet Coke all the time and it’s gender neutral.

  6. Speaking as a guy, as soon as I saw the commercial and the “no girls allowed” ad I decided I wouldn’t drink Dr. Pepper 10. The same was true of Chick Beer, which I had forgotten until you mentioned it. When I first heard about it I thought about drinking Chick Beer in public as a sort of statement, but I have a problem with buying it and therefore financially supporting a product that implies that all other beers are for men only. Hey, I’ve driven all over town in search of a six-pack of my wife’s favorite brew which, I can assure you, is NOT Chick beer.

    This reminds me of the time when I was very young and told my mother my favorite color was pink. And she said, “Oh no, you can’t like pink. It’s a girls’ color.” Being four years old I thought, “Stupid girls. They get everything.” A few decades later I think, you know what? I can like pink if I want. I can even wear pink. It’s a color, and those aren’t owned by either gender. The only reason I won’t wear pink is it just doesn’t look good with my complexion.

    • My beau mentioned the same thing. It may just be he’s a devout lover of Diet Dr. Pepper AND regular Dr. Pepper, and hates change, but I think he’s not standing behind this DPT situation because he really thinks it’s ridiculous.

  7. Sadly, it is an effective campaign. People are talking about it on blogs, Facebook, etc. Even though people are bashing the advertising campaign itself, it is piquing interest in the actual product and, thus, the product will stand out more in the store. Now, all the company has to do is release a pre-prepared PR apology statement about how the ad was meant to poke fun at stereotypes, and the product remains at the forefront of the subconscious. Gotta love psychology in marketing.

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  10. I grew up on one liquid, it wasn’t water, it wasn’t milk, it was Dr. Pepper. Stuff ran through my veins. I’ve tried to cut it out and now I stick to cherry coke zero when i want a soda fix… diet dr. p is just bleh. I tried out dr. p 10 on tuesday night when i had a lot of baking to do and um…. it was great!

    he man woman drink?

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