You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Dr. Pepper Ten diet soda

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
No woman could handle the testosteriffic power of ten manly calories.

Okay, I gotta ask: are diet sodas considered a “woman’s beverage”?

If that’s a stereotype, it’s a new one on me. But it’s the only way this ad’s existence makes a lick of sense.

Women, after all, represent roughly 50% of your potential customer base. Creating an ad that not only alienates them, but outright tells them not to buy the product, just in the hope that doing so will attract male consumers … it seems foolhardy to the max.

Oh, it’s hardly the first commercial to drench itself in machismo and sell itself as the “manly” product (see the Burger King ad we covered a year back). But those are for products like beer or large servings of beef, that already have a lot of stereotypes associating them with men. The ads might play into it, but they’re still following a track that weirdo social customs laid out for them.

But this one … it seems like maybe the reverse was going on. That Dr. Pepper’s thinking was: only women drink diet soda, but if we create a diet soda campaign macho enough to win men over, we’ll nail the male consumer base everyone else is missing out on. Which might be a valid strategy … except I’m not sure “diet sodas are for women” was ever a real stereotype. Like, were any men actually ashamed to order a diet soda in a restaurant or anything like that.

I mean, maybe some did, and I just never noticed?

Or, sudden thought: were they hoping a lot of women would start drinking Dr. Pepper Ten out of spite?

Regardless, this whole campaign seems ill-advised. Diet Dr. Pepper was already the only diet soda to actually taste good; they didn’t need to do this.