Image: Dr. Pepper Snapple GroupThe internet is fizzing over a new diet soda marketed strictly to men from, of all companies, Dr. Pepper. In a wildly misguided effort to get Bro Six-Pack to start calorie-counting, they’ve deployed an array of Axe-Deodorant-style “viral” marketing initiatives that are about as stale and musky as Tim Allen’s man-cave. And boy oh boy, is “Dr. Pepper Ten” corny. From the AP:
Instead of the dainty tan bubbles on the diet can, Ten will be wrapped in gunmetal grey packaging with silver bullets … A Facebook page for the drink contains an application that allows it to exclude women from viewing content, which includes games and videos aimed at being “manly.” For instance, there’s a shooting gallery where you shoot things like high heels and lipstick.
The campaign makes me so sick to my stomach, I feel like I’ve drunk a Dr. Pepper Ten. Beyond the casual (if boneheaded) sexism, the most infuriating part of the ad campaign is that it’s using such tired stereotypes to stir up media attention (yeah yeah, including here) and thus sales. If men actually buy into this, it’s scarier for our future than the 2012 Mayan Prophecy.
All that aside, what exactly makes this diet soda more macho than the standard fare? The AP attempts to shed some light:
To appeal to men, Dr Pepper made its Ten drink 180 degrees different than Diet Dr Pepper … [U]nlike its diet counterpart … the drink has 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar, which gives it a sweeter taste.
Really? Adding a little high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to the standard (and spooky) sweetener aspartame is the cold fusion of the diet soda world? Besides gunky HFCS, the only additional ingredients include the sweetener acesulfame potassium and sodium phosphate. I was curious, so I looked up sodium phosphate. What I found was quite manly indeed. Sodium phosphate is commonly used:
to completely empty the colon (large intestine, bowel) before a colonoscopy (examination of the inside of the colon to check for colon cancer and other abnormalities) so that the doctor will have a clear view of the walls of the colon.
It’s also used as a meat preservative. Make of that what you will.
So let me get this straight: Dr. Pepper doesn’t want me to buy their colon-rattling blasts of HFCS and aspartame? I think my ovaries just leapt for joy.
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