Dr. Pepper: Stop the Sexist "It's Not for Women" Ad Campaign!

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Dr. Pepper: Stop the Sexist "It's Not for Women" Ad Campaign!

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To appeal to men, Dr Pepper Ten completely revamped their marketing strategy from Diet Dr Pepper. Dr Pepper Ten has calories and sugar unlike its diet counterpart. Instead of the “dainty tan bubbles” on the diet can, Ten will be wrapped in gunmetal grey packaging with silver bullets. And while Diet Dr Pepper's marketing is women-friendly, the ad campaign for Ten goes out of its way to alienate and denigrate women.

For instance, there's a Dr Pepper Ten Facebook page for men only. I had to create a new Facebook page indicating I’m a guy to even view the content. It includes games and videos aimed at being "manly." There's a “manly shooting gallery” where men have “23 seconds to take out all the girlie stuff” with the directions of, “If it’s girlie shoot it – if it’s manly avoid it.” There’s a gun scope view on a pair of red high heels and then “girlie” items like lipstick, flowers, rainbows and unicorns flash by cowboy hats, hammers and little plastic toy soldiers. I purposely didn’t shoot anything to see how the game ended. I was confronted with a message; “This shooting gallery is no place for a woman like you.”

There’s also a “Man-cronym” section that allows male users to create female bashing acronyms on “manly” type words such as Golf – Guys Outside Lady Free by Andrew V. According to Ryan S Bold stands for Boycott Old Lady Drinks and Manly stands for Men Acting Nobly Ladies Yawn.

TV commercials are heavy on the machismo, too including one spot that shows muscular men in the jungle battling snakes and bad guys. "Hey ladies. Enjoying the film? Of course not. Because this is our movie and this is our soda," a manly man says as he attempts to pour the soda into a glass during a bumpy ATV ride. "You can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks. We're good."

Jim Trebilcock, executive vice president of marketing for Dr Pepper, said he's not worried about offending women with the campaign. The drink and marketing were tested in six different markets across the country before being rolled out nationally, and women weren't offended, he said. Jim Trebilcock states 40% of people who have tried the soda so far are women.

"Women get the joke," he said. "'Is this really for men or really for women?' is a way to start the conversation that can spread and get people engaged in the product."

In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. That's an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That's more than 600 women every day. Other estimates, such as those generated by the FBI, are much lower because they rely on data from law enforcement agencies. A significant number of crimes are never even reported for reasons that include the victim's feeling that nothing can/will be done. According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, "growing up in a violent home may be a terrifying and traumatic experience that can affect every aspect of a child's life, growth and development. . . . children who have been exposed to family violence suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, women who experience physical abuse as children are at a greater risk of victimization as adults, and men have a far greater (more than double) likelihood of perpetrating abuse.

Advertising such as this only further exploits and demeans women – as the Facebook app does not allow women to view, the “games” are all aimed and shooting and destroying anything relating to women, and the campaign’s messaging overall speaks to degrade women. There is no different between Dr Pepper’s Ten marketing campaign messaging and the Milk Board’s Everything I Do Is Wrong Campaign. Both ad campaigns are equally sexist. The only thing this type of misogynistic messaging does – it further the divide between men and women.

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