When you think of companies making big PR mistakes, what comes to mind? BP’s initial handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill? Motrin and their baby-wearing mom ads? Well, most recently it’s been the popular soft drink brand Dr. Pepper.
In early October, Dr. Pepper introduced their newest product, Dr. Pepper Ten. Now, the fact that Dr. Pepper released a new, low-calorie beverage is not exciting in and of itself. And maybe that’s why they decided to make a bold advertising move (and what I believe to be a HUGE PR mistake) by specifically marketing this product to men only. However, it’s not just that they targeted only men, but the fact that they acted, in my opinion, extremely sexist in the process. Let’s take a look at the commercial for this new, manly drink:
If I try really hard, I suppose I can understand why Dr. Pepper was trying to break away from typical diet products, which are usually more well received by women. However, I cannot for the life of me understand what kind of public relations practitioner would have thought that painting women as the weaker, less capable sex was a good idea.
This commercial was not only ill received by me, but many bloggers and vloggers but even Ellen DeGeneres had something to say about Dr. Pepper’s new ad.
Lisa Barone, blogger for Ragan Communications said in response to the Dr. Pepper campaign that, “If there’s one thing I wish brands could learn, it’s that you can be polarizing and still be intelligent. You can be clever without pandering to the lowest common denominator of men — or women. You can be edgy without being an idiot.”
I couldn’t agree more. I think Dr. Pepper’s move was idiotic, and what they thought clever was, in my opinion, offensive and pointless.
What do you think? Do you like the Dr. Pepper ad? Why or why not? Do you think their ad was a marketing success or a PR disaster?