Dr Pepper Ten: Not for Women or the Men Who Respect Them

Offender: Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Media Outlet: Aired on television stations nationwide beginning 10/10/2011

The Offense: After about 20 seconds of macho men driving around the jungle, killing snakes and spilling soda, this new TV commercial states explicitly: “Dr Pepper Ten. It’s Not for Women.” Dr Pepper also launched a Facebook page for men only. When someone with a female-identified Facebook profile tries to enter the page, the following message appears: “Sorry Ladies, Dr Pepper Ten Isn’t for Women.”

NOW’s Analysis: The ad perpetuates stereotypical gender roles, where men are the action heroes of the world, forever looking for adventure, while women are submissive, ornamental or out of the picture altogether, as in this case. Taking place inside a mock blow-’em-up movie, the commercial includes lines like, “Hey ladies, enjoying the film? Of course not! Because this is our movie,” and “So you can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks. We’re good.” — driving home the message that women have no interest in action (really?) and men steer clear of anything associated with the ladies.

The new drink has “ten manly calories,” as opposed to Diet Dr Pepper, which has zero — in other words, zero calories is too prissy for men, but 10 calories are too many for women. After all, women are supposed to drink diet soda to look thinner, while men will want to use Dr Pepper 10 as fuel for their manly activities. Is the ad poking fun at these stereotypes? Perhaps. But it seems like the makers of Dr Pepper want it both ways — to appear to be laughing at misogynistic men while appealing to them at the same time.

For example, I had to use a man’s Facebook page to sneak onto the Dr Pepper Ten Facebook page, where I found even more sexist nonsense. Videos show men shooting things, playing sports, etc., and there’s a shooting gallery, where men can fire away at “girly” stuff, such as pink bows, red lipstick and sunflowers. Finally, you can take a quiz, testing your knowledge of sports, cars and movies. (I got a seven out of 10, while the man who helped me access the page got eight out of 10 — so I guess I am pretty manly!) Women can and do know about sports and cars, but that flies in the face of our society’s carefully constructed gender roles. Still, is it really necessary to portray women as forever linked with pink bows and lipstick? Haven’t these outdated stereotypes grown old and terribly clichéd by now?

The Dr Pepper Ten commercial and Facebook page suggest that men continue to dominate the advertising industry. Apparently, not much has changed since the days of “Mad Men.” In fact, this chauvinist viewpoint is reinforced in almost of all aspects of life — from schooling to the corporate world. Women should not be left on the sidelines of life; we should be portrayed as the adventurers we really are. Dr Pepper really missed the mark this time.

Take Action: Contact Dr. Pepper to tell them what you think, and sign the petition on change.org.

By Anita Lederer, Field Organizer

National Organization for Women

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