EJM Designs Limited Blog

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Badvertising: Dr. Pepper

I like Dr. Pepper; I have since I was a kid. And Diet Dr. Pepper? Really, it tastes darn close to its regular, HFCS-laden brother. But in the last couple weeks I've seen both of the following advertisements for Dr. Pepper and thought #FAIL. Let's take a look.

Always One of a Kind

Here we begin our journey with the greyed corporate masses, the herd, and the single break-away man stripping down (revealing his true self) to the iconic maroon Dr. Pepper shirt. He's a pepper!

But then everyone gets in on it. Suddenly, people are popping up in pepper tees like Sneeches pumping through the belly star-stamper machine. NO!

Yes. By the end of the commercial, the message that flowed through the first fifteen seconds of the spot or so has completely lost its weight; everyone is wearing the shirt. Everyone is One of a Kind. Except for fat people; I suppose no overweight people were harmed in the making of this commercial - but they also cannot be peppers :(

You too can be unique...just like everyone else.

Dr. Pepper TEN: It's Not for Women

(Action Movie)

(Man Shed)

Somehow, the marketing folks here managed to insult both women and men. And miss the point.

The desire, clearly, is to take something you would not normally associate with diet soda - men and "manliness" - and suffocate it with testosterone tropes until it taps out in the target consumer's head as "must be manly." The problem is they're attempting to rent a room in the house that beer - and sometimes whiskey - owns, and has ...forever.

It doesn't work, even on an underlying psychological level. I would argue that the absurd juxtaposition of forcing diet soda into these masculinized shop/action movie/bar/potato gun situations is actually working in reverse. "Diet soda at the bar? Why not just carry a purse. Wait, where are those guys' purses?" And suddenly the men are feminized and the message by the end is that Dr. Pepper TEN will make you more lady-like.


Sidenote here: you can do all those man things without the endcap comments. Okay, "Keep your romantic comedies" is quaint because haha women like romcoms. But "Keep your gardening"? That rides a little too close to the edge of domestic stereotypes for good taste. "Yeah, keep your gardening, as soon as you make me that sammich! You have that baby yet? Shutup! I'm in my shed!"

Yes you are, manly-man. Drinking Diet Dr. Pepper out of your purse.

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