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Dr. Pepper isn’t Evil, Only Malignant

January 12, 2012

There are a few general principles by which I try to live my life. One of them is “don’t drink anything that tastes nasty.” For this reason I’ve always avoided Dr. Pepper, and it was probably a good enough reason to last me the rest of my life, but just in case it wasn’t good enough, they made this commercial:

Let’s ignore for the moment the issue of whether this commercial is sexist or not (it kinda is) and focus instead upon the idea behind the commercial. Every advertisement ever made has one purpose: it’s trying to sell something. The commercial might not be trying to sell a physical object, but it’s trying to sell something nonetheless, whether it be a philosophical ideal or toothpaste.

At first glance, this commercial seems to be an attempt to sell a beverage by identifying the beverage with certain things a specific subgroup of consumers enjoy. That would be fine, but while doing so it specifically goes out of its way to alienate another subgroup. Here’s the first important point: Dr. Pepper Ten could be effectively marketed towards men without completely alienating women.

If this hamfistedness was all there was to this commercial, I’d be fine with it. The company would just be effectively sounding their own death-knell. Alienating a full %50 of all consumers simply isn’t a viable marketing strategy. That’s the second important point, and that’s what makes me suspicious.

Surely the marketing department of Dr. Pepper isn’t this stupid. Surely they knew that if people responded to the commercials based only upon whether they did an effective job of selling the product, the product would not be purchased at all. There has to be some ulterior motive here.

The only one I can think of is some sort of reverse psychology or an attempt to cause controversy (It has certainly done that). Maybe they are adhering to the belief that any publicity is good publicity. I don’t like being manipulated, and this commercial is more manipulative than most, and most are already pretty manipulative. Now I have two principles to prevent me from ever buying a Dr. Pepper product.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 13, 2012 9:47 am

    Adam, I agree with you 100%. In this case of obvious gender bias it wouldn’t matter to me. Dr. Pepper is the worst drink on the planet. It tastes like cough medicine.

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