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Dr Pepper: Real Men Don’t Drink Diet

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It’s got some of the flavor, but not all of the calories.

Dr Pepper is going low-calorie, high-testosterone in an effort to court the image-conscious manly man, who wants a diet soda that doesn’t say “diet soda.” Much like Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero, Dr Pepper Ten – a soda with 10 calories, get it? – aims to be a cooler, male brand.

The message is explicit: “It’s not for women,” the ads say. Dr Pepper Ten will feature a “gunmetal gray” color scheme and “industrial rivets.” It does sound more like a piece of artillery than a drink.

With that in mind, will making it a man-only zone backfire? Matt Wallaert, social and behavior psychologist of digital strategy firm Churnless.com, likes the no-diet compromise, but isn’t sold on the marketing tactics: “Would I have gone heavy handed with the marketing? No way,” he says. “It now makes Dr Pepper Ten too overt of a machismo statement, which will turn off some men.”

But others say it will help Dr Pepper stand out from the crowd by making the 125-year-old drink hip. “I applaud their creativity,” says Sherif Mityas, a partner in the retail practice at AT Kearney. “They’re focused on a powerful young male demographic from a consumer spending perspective.” Plus, female grocery shoppers might just prefer to buy their husbands lower calorie drinks.

Dr Pepper doesn’t believe this will alienate male or female customers. Dave Fleming, director of marketing for Dr Pepper, says research shows men will accept more calories for a drink with a “full flavor.” To put the calorie count into perspective: A 20-fluid-ounce bottle of Dr Pepper has 250 calories, a bottle of Coke has 240 calories, while Coke Zero, Diet Coke and Diet Dr Pepper Diet have no calories at all.

Pay Dirt readers, are you man enough for Dr Pepper Ten?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iuG1OpnHP8&feature=player_detailpage

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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