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?