Earlier this month, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group introduced Dr. Pepper Ten, a version of its iconic soda targeted entirely at men, who apparently do not find normal diet soda sufficiently manly. The ten is a reference to the number of calories in the beverage, compared to the standard, and apparently more feminine, zero calories found in most diet beverages.
The packaging is gun-metal grey, and the tagline proclaims, “It’s not for women.” The advertising goes out of its way to poke fun at male stereotypes, with one commercial depicting Stallone-type action heroes taking on baddies, bullets, and snakes in a jungle setting.
Despite a bit of controversy over sexism and stereotypes in the campaign, I really like how overtly Dr. Pepper is declaring that this beverage is for men. It’s deliberately over the top in a way that’s as humorously offensive to men (who will no doubt be imbibing Ten in their man caves) as it is to women. If anything, the campaign makes me more curious to try it (and I’m not a Pepper fan to begin with).
I’m less enthusiastic about the name itself.
The reference to 10 calories still very much calls out the diet-ness of the beverage, and that it’s much closer in composition to Diet Doctor Pepper (zero calories) than Regular Dr. Pepper (150 calories). If Ten is the manly version of Diet Dr. Pepper, what colossal beast is out there drinking Regular Dr. Pepper?
There’s also the Bo Derek association of being a 10, which recalls feminine perfection more than the male equivalent. And of course, the name structure is highly reminiscent of a whole host of diet beverages like Coke Zero and Pepsi One.
In short, the name still says diet beverage—just a slightly watered-down, er sugared-up, one. It’s a lost opportunity for Dr. Pepper to pound its chest and put a testosterone-laden stake in the ground. Personally I would’ve liked to see the Dr. Pepper Defcon, the Dr. Pepper Nunchuck, or maybe (taking a lot of liberties, since you get to do that in a blog), the Dr. Cut (hey, that cut in calories gives you that super cut look!).
Overall Grade: B-