The soft drink industry is one of great and increasing power. With powerhouse companies such as the Coca-Cola Company and Pepsi Co dominating the market, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has remained a close competitor with their line of soft drinks. While the demand of carbonated beverages has consistently been decreasing over the past few years due to health concerns, the attraction to diet beverages has boosted due to the idea of it being a healthier alternative to full-calorie sodas. Perceived as a feminine beverage, diet soda has been one that is hard to market to male audiences who view it as a threat to their sense of manhood to be seen with a diet cola. With that being said, Dr. Pepper TEN is Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s attempt to prove to men that there is a low-calorie soft drink option for them as well. A soft drink that is masculine and whose marketing strategy is aimed strictly to them. Facing great criticism with issues such as sexism and discrimination, the target market, marketing strategy, and overall product personality of Dr. Pepper TEN has, at times, raised more questions than answers.
Company and Product History
Perfecting the first soft drink of carbonated mineral water in 1783, Jean Jacob Schweppe began an epidemic of what is now known as the soft drink market. This carbonated mineral water that Schweppe created was the origin of Dr. Pepper that made its way to the community in 1885 in Waco, Texas. Pharmacist, Charles Alderton, enjoyed making combinations of soft drink syrups in the local store he worked in. The store manager liked a few of his recipes and began selling it in his store. Once he realized how popular his concoctions were, well-known chemist, Robert S. Lazenby, started working with the store manager to present the new soft drink to the public. In 1981, the two chemists started a firm named the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later was changed to the Dr. Pepper Company (Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, 2013). Throughout the first decade of business, Dr. Pepper’s only products were Dr. Pepper, Sugar Free Dr. Pepper, Sugar Free Pepper Free, Pepper Free, and Welch’s soda flavors. In 1983, Dr. Pepper was awarded the fourth largest soft drink company and held 6.9 percent of market share. Now located in Plano, Texas, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group is currently a leading integrated brand owner, bottler, and distributor of soft drinks in the United States, Canada, and Mexico (Williams & Goldsworthy, 2011). Having introduced fifteen successful brands, Dr. Pepper TEN has taken the market by surprise by it’s questionable strategy of marketing the product as “just for men”. Nick Harrison, creative director for Chicago based branding, writes in his article, “The Dr. Pepper brand is also trying to create a niche by touting its 10 calories vs. zero, and it’s going for a bit of a shock value by saying, ‘it’s not for women’. Dr. Pepper even went as far as having a men-only section that women can’t access on Facebook” (Skarda, 2011).
Target Market and Segmentation
Dr. Pepper TEN takes an interesting and bold position when developing their target market. Not only does their ad campaign state clearly that “it’s not for women”, the product personality of the new, often seen as sexist, soft drink has also supported the idea that it is targeted strictly towards men. With that said, Vice President of Marketing for Dr. Pepper, Jim Trebilcock, states “Women get the joke. ‘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.” (Moran, 2011). This statement made by someone so influential in the company goes to show that the real intent behind focusing so heavily on men may actually be to sway women to try the product even more. To understand this further, it is important to grasp the issues surrounding the whole Dr. Pepper company. The Dr. Pepper personality in general has been often misunderstood in years passed. Being...
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