Usually I write about food – how to buy, make, and enjoy it. I don’t preach against prepared food or even junk food. I love candy, drink soda occasionally, have a not-so-secret Frito fixation, and don’t mind silly ad campaigns in the slightest. But last night, while watching the World Series Game 6 (an unbelievably exciting game at that), I was appalled to see a Dr. Pepper 10 ad that proclaimed the new soda is “not for women.”
My brother used this stamp (minus my new add-on) in the 1970’s to tell the world what he thought of various posters in the NYC subways and elsewhere that did, in fact, insult women. Gotta love a high school guy who would do that!
Is that OK? Companies have to think twice before hitting the “send” button on an ad campaign. Would it be OK for an ad campaign to tout a product as not for white people”, “not for black people”, “not for Italians” (fill in the blank)?
Here’s the commercial I saw last night. Dr. Pepper says the campaign was tested in 6 different markets before the national roll-out. The ad no doubt passed muster with the company’s legal department too. But in the court of public opinion, I hope we sentence this campaign to oblivion. It’s an insult to all – not just women.
Terms like “chick lit” or “guy movie” suggest the book or movie appeals primarily to one group. I don’t take offense at that and even use such terms myself. (When my husband and friends engage in a Big Lebowski quote session, I’ve been known to use rather choice terms for their admiration of that movie.) But at the same time, I love action-packed “guy” movies that the Dr. Pepper 10 ad says I am not supposed to care for.
To me, saying a product (or anything else) is not for one gender – regardless of one’s personal situation – is harsher than calling it a “guy’s drink”. The Dr. Pepper ad pokes fun of people whose tastes are not within the gender stereotypes. The women’s movement, the “It Gets Better” project for gay and transgender yooung people and broader anti-bullying campaigns for straights and gays do so much good. Why enter the land of stereotypes and undermine their efforts?
A company spokesman says women aren’t offended by the Dr, Pepper 10 ad and “they get the joke.” I understand the marketing benefits to being controversial and edgy in such a campaign – and even the point in getting people riled up. After all, it’s more publicity for Dr. Pepper and its product. But I think this Dr. Pepper 10’s ad message is one that the company should not send, even in fun. What do you think?
Dr. Pepper 10 is made by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc
5301 Legacy Drive
Plano, TX 75024
Consumer Relations – (800) 696-5891
Media Relations – (800) 686-7398