This Dr. Pepper campaign isn’t sexist. It’s bad.

Hello, ladies. Look at this ad. Now back to me. Now back at this ad. Sadly, we’re all a little bit sexist, aren’t we?

Dr. Pepper launched a new drink targeting guys called Dr. Pepper Ten. The spot is below.

While good brands massage their tone and messaging to appeal to a specific target, this one is kinda unique because it blatantly excludes females by saying, “Not for Women”. There’s even a Facebook page only visible to guys with such manly gems as The Manly Shooting Gallery and Name Your Sausage (I picked “Chorizo” which wasn’t the right answer.) As if that wasn’t enough, pop-up Man Caves will appear in select US cities.

People are kinda freaking out. Ad Chickadee is asking people to sign a petition to “remove this sexist ad” and respected AdRants said there was “…no reason to pit one sex against the other…”

Do I like this ad? No I do not.
As a guy, does it speak to me? No it does not.
Will I buy this product? No I will not.

But is it sexist? I guess it is by definition but when we still have gender imbalance in income levels and household duties and women are still marginalized by “babes in bikinis” for just about every beer brand on the planet, I think we have more important gender issues to fight for.

As a guy, I don’t connect with this campaign just as I fail to connect with manly ads for pickup trucks, meat-lovers pizza, and domestic beer. Sure, they don’t say, “Not for women” but they might as well. And what about the hundreds of CPG spots that depict the husband as bumbling idiots while their wives do that all-knowing wink to the camera? Are those sexist? Hell, even the toast of ad-town Old Spice claimed that if I stopped using lady scented body wash, I could smell like a chiseled former NFL player. Was it sexist or just targeting burly men who proudly define themselves as one?

I drive a Volvo. I’m not handy. I despise action movies. And I don’t own any Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Hockey DVDs. I can’t be further from the image of men depicted in most advertising. But I’m ok with it because I vote with my dollars by not purchasing those products. I don’t waste my time or space in gender discussions to complain about it. I just say “no thanks” and move on.

Good advertising should always connect with specific people. Some of those people are women who like traditional “girly stuff” or men who like “macho stuff”. And if there aren’t enough guys who relate to a soft drink that is exclusively male then sales will plummet, business will suffer, and people will get fired.

Ordering them to take it down seems foolish when it’ll come crashing down organically if people vote with their wallets.

Call me old school but I think Dr. Pepper should have the opportunity to fail just like the rest of us.

For part 2 of this, read the post Who’s guilty? Advertising, Paris Hilton, or me?

3 Comments

  1. Who’s guilty? Advertising, Paris Hilton or me? | Ron Tite
  1. Hey Ron

    Nice read – and I thoroughly agree: leave the campaign alone and it will fade off naturally.

    I released a post about this campaign earlier in the week – http://interacter.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/cheap-derivative-lazy-headline-grabbing-rubbish/ – and my bottom line is that something feels really unbalanced about the whole thing.

    The integration across everything isn’t there. Yorkie at least had the decency to put the Not For Girls strap on the chocolate bars.

    And why, oh why, did the campaign appear on Youtube 7 months ago, but the chatter only start this week?

    There’s something amiss here quite apart from the ad itself. Or maybe I’m just suspicious…

    Neil

  2. This ad campaign is overcompensating.

    How…manly…

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