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Jim Hightower
Otherwords / Op-Ed
Published: Monday 24 October 2011
“If you worry that American corporations have lost the innovative, can-do edge necessary to compete in today's global economy, you need to spend some time with Dr Pepper.”

Manliness in a Can

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If you worry that American corporations have lost the innovative, can-do edge necessary to compete in today's global economy, you need to spend some time with Dr Pepper.

I don't mean a shrink, but the soft-drink. It's a brand that, let's face it, has seemed a bit stodgy. But —Pow! — no more. Meet Dr Pepper Ten, a brand-new concoction that promises to deliver the impossible: a macho diet soda. How's that for innovation?

It seems that the honchos over at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group have done intensive market analysis and found that men think of diet drinks as...well, girly. So they flinch at buying them.

No sweat, said the corporate alchemists, we'll make a manned-up soda that has only 10 calories, but still contains a manly dose of real sugar and other stuff. It's low-cal, but none may dare call it "diet."

Corporate officials won't disclose what's in the formula that supposedly will make men salivate for a can of Ten, but the key ingredient seems to be raw hucksterism. The pepped-up Dr Pepper is being launched with a massive, testosterone-infused ad campaign that bluntly proclaims: "It's not for women."

TV ads will run on all networks during college football games, and the promos will reek of machismo, showing men — real men — in a jungle battling snakes. Also, instead of the gentle bubbles on Dr Pepper's regular diet can, the cans of Ten are gunmetal grey — with silver bullets. Pow!

In case ladies still don't get the point that this is a manly man's drink, they might go to Dr Pepper Ten's Facebook page. There, they'll find a virtual shooting gallery that invites members of the male species to fire virtual bullets at such feminine symbols as lipstick and high heels. Is this fun, or what?

Hey, China, you think you're the new economic power on the globe, but we've now got Dr Pepper on steroids. Well, let's see you top that.

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ABOUT Jim Hightower
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

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10 comments on "Manliness in a Can "



October 25, 2011 5:57am

Seems to me that their target demographic (macho guys) are the only ones who don't or won't drink diet sodas.


October 24, 2011 9:43pm

I'm surprised such a slogan is even allowed. What's next? "Not for Gays"? "Not for Jews"? "Not for N..." --well, you get the idea.

American Bolshevik

October 24, 2011 8:45pm

Oh, Balls (if I may say so)! Real men drink Wild Turkey 101. Straight up. No ice. No chaser. Sody-pop is for sissies!

Christopher Miller

October 24, 2011 5:45pm

As a member of the target demographic, this campaign makes me feel a little retarded. Maybe they should advertise it on "1000 Ways to Die."

Lindsay Haisley

October 24, 2011 12:58pm

Humor will get you through times of no humor better than no humor will get you through times of humor :-) ....... Butch Hancock


October 24, 2011 12:49pm

Marketing IS superficial - hello! Advertising is there is convince you that you need something. There is nothing that makes this product an example of "less integrity" than any other product that fills a need. Does it quench your thirst? Does it taste good? Sounds like integrity to me. BTW Coke Zero was developed for the exact same reasons - men don't like to drink "diet" drinks, though they may want to decrease their sugar intake.


October 24, 2011 11:51am

Since none of this crap is unhealthy, and soda is even worse for one when it is "diet," it just underscores the superficiality of American marketing where the image of what is being marketed is more important than the substance of the product. And this in a country which formerly prided itself in producing products of integrity , utility and durability in a country settled by small farmers who ate well.

Daniel Vaz Smith

October 24, 2011 8:34am

Just goes to show what's the real marketing agenda of corporations: thrive on the fear and ignorance of the consumer.


October 24, 2011 8:24am

Sure, this is all sorts of wrong, but regardless of how stupid the premise itself might be, am I the only one who also thinks that new can looks super girly?