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Douchebag Decree: Dr. Pepper, Doucheologist and Men-Only Drink Specialist

"ye olde douchebag decree" in blue letters with a light blue hand-drawn douchebag in the background, and "BITCH HEREBY DECLARES THE FOLLOWING PERSON A TOTAL DOUCHEBAG" in small letters in red underneath.

Oh "light" beverages. When will you stop freaking out and shoving your unnecessarily constructed masculinity in our faces? The latest in this long line of I'm-so-manly-it's-sexist diet drinks (predecessors include Miller Lite, Pepsi Max, and Coke Zero) is none other than Dr. Pepper 10, with a new ad campaign that screams IT'S NOT FOR WOMEN.

Dr Pepper can and ad copy which reads: all 23 flavors. just 10 manly calories. It's not for women.
What makes a calorie manly? A tiny patch of chest hair and a miniature disdain for womanly calories?

The drink itself is gender-neutral enough—I bought some of it last night for testing purposes—basically amounting to a Diet Dr. Pepper with two extra grams of sugar ("diet"=girly, but those 10 calories are all man, baby). What makes this a MAN'S DRINK is apparently the "gunmetal gray" can—complete with rivet decals! Because it's so strong and manly you need a power tool to open it (?)—and its supremely douche-y marketing strategy. Check out this commercial, but DON'T WATCH IT IF YOU'RE A WOMAN BECAUSE IT'S NOT FOR YOU. (All-caps shouting courtesy of Dr. Pepper.)

Feels like a condensed version of this fall's anxiety-inducing masculinity-obsessed TV lineup, yes? The insecurity that permeates every pixel of this campaign, because men might be perceived as feminine for drinking something lower in sugar (oh horror of horrors!), is so over-the-top blatant that it would be funny if it weren't damned depressing. Diet drinks are for ladeez and you guys are men: WE GET IT. Also: WE DON'T CARE BECAUSE IT'S A FUCKING DRINK AND THEREFORE NOT GENDER-SPECIFIC IN ANY WAY. RELAX.

But wait! There's more! This campaign has a men-only Facebook page! (Psst: I joined though so you don't have to.) The page is mainly just pictures of Dr. Pepper 10, the Chuck Norris of Diet Drinks™, but if you "like" it you gain access to "The Dr. Pepper Ten Man'Ments: The definitive guide to social protocol for men." Lest you think these man'ments (yeah, I don't think that joke works either) are about Dr. Pepper 10, think again: They are about Facebook etiquette. More specifically, they are about shaming men for the sissiness that apparently oozes out of every move they make on Facebook. You know, because it's a soda commercial!

header for the man'ments. it reads: Facebook has a way of making even the boldest guys act like gossiping schoolgirls. Not anymore. Behold the Dr Pepper Ten Manments, the definitive guide to social protocol for men.

For your edification (it is a DEFINITIVE GUIDE), here are the Man'Ments, reprinted in full:

  1. THOU SHALT NOT OMG. If it's not exploding, it's not exciting.
  2. THOU SHALT NOT PUCKER UP. Kissy faces are never manly.
  3. THOU SHALT NOT POST PICS OF YOUR OUTFIT. Unless it's battle armor and you have a gigantic sword and/or small bazooka.
  4. THOU SHALT NOT POST FURRY ANIMAL VIDEOS. Exceptions made for beasts fighting to the death and bears destroying idyllic picnic scenes.
  5. THOU SHALT NOT MAKE A "MAN-GAGEMENT" ALBUM. That is all.
  6. THOU SHALT NOT SHARE YOUR HOROSCOPE. Daily.
  7. THOU SHALT NOT INSTAGRAM YOUR LUNCH. Real men eat lunch not tweet it.
  8. THOU SHALT NOT UNTAG UNFLATTERING PICS. We know you were there.
  9. THOU SHALT NOT END A COMMENT WITH A =)
  10. THOU SHALT NOT MAKE A FACEBOOK PROFILE FOR YOUR PET, baby and/or imaginary friend.

And here's my attempt to break as many man'ments as possible in one Facebook photo:

photo of a french bulldog wearing a scarf sitting near a dr pepper 10 cam. caption reads: OMG this
(My pet, Edith, making a kissy face while wearing an outfit in an instagram lunch "mangagement" photo omg-ing about her horoscope :) Man'ments broken: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10. Also, she's a LADY drinking a "NO WOMEN ALLOWED" beverage!)

There is, I'm told, a second level of Dr. Pepper 10 on Facebook that I cannot access because I am not a man. According to the New York Times, it contains, among other things, "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, for example. There is also a 'man quiz' with questions on activities like fishing and hunting."

This is just a diet drink, I know, but campaigns like this one serve to reinforce a gender binary in a way that harms everyone. MEN are this and WOMEN are that and there is no room for anything in between (including people who identify as neither a man nor a woman—you'll have to figure out which diet drinks to consume on your own without the help of Dr. Pepper I guess).

Says Jim Trebilcock, executive vice president of marketing for Dr Pepper, "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." Well Treblicock, it's also a way to get a Douchebag Decree.

UPDATE: Change.org has a petition going on their website to stop this campaign. Sign it to let Dr. Pepper know that you don't appreciate their douchebag-y sexism!

Previously: Reebok EasyTone's Butt Claims Are Full of Shit, TV Guide Declares Taraji P. Henson Not a "Person of Interest"

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Comments

36 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Dr. Pepper 10

This ad campaign is insulting to both men and women.

Reminds me of a similar thing

Reminds me of a similar thing that's being going on as long as I can remember in England for the Yorkie chocolate bar: http://www.nzraw.co.nz/images/yorkie-not-for-girls-thm1.jpg However, with the Yorkie that is the actual product packaging and it's been the same for years, it's not just a short-lived ad campaign.

I am so offended Ican'teven.

I am so offended Ican'teven. This is so shitty to both men and women. And shooting high heels and lipstick!?!? Are you fucking with me?

/ragestroke

there are so many things that

there are so many things that are advertised only for women. get over it. dr peppers target audience for this was men, whats wrong with that?

Yeah, but we're talking shit

Yeah, but we're talking shit like TAMPONS and perfume. Soft drinks were, at least heretofore, considered gender-neutral.

There are definitely ways to

There are definitely ways to market products to men without being sexist and demeaning. This is pure laziness on Dr. Pepper's part.

And on top of everything

And on top of everything else, he litters. Are you even allowed to litter on tv anymore?

The littering...that I abhor!

The littering...that I abhor! I walk a few times a week in one of the only natural wooded parks in my area on Long Island, and every week I clean up after the teenage boys and young men that have tossed their cigarette packs, bottles, and cans down wherever they were when they finished them. I guess that is supposed to be manly. Hmmm...never knew that! Thanks, Dr. Pepper for helping me to understand!

Thank you

for this comprehensive article and for providing me writing fodder for the day! I figured we could all agree that this is super-duchey and went with the question, will it sell pop? http://whosright.com/poll/will-dr-pepper-10s-controversial-not-for-women.... I thought the NYT article you linked to had some evidence that creating a brew-ha-ha is their whole marketing scheme -- the VP of marketing saying "it's going to start a conversation" means "media will cover how offensive we are and get the brand out there!" I think it's super lame, but I can't get too riled up about this one. Yes, it blatantly enforces gender binaries, and I hate the stereotypes of "masculine" and "feminine" actions and activities. But it's so over the top, it might actually start a conversation and force people who don't usually think about this stuff to consider enforcement of gender norms.

I'm sorry about my use of

I'm sorry about my use of "lame" in my previous comment, that's against the rules, I was being thoughtless.

Thanks!

Thanks for catching that, Eleanor!

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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Reply to comment | Bitch Media

Put a water bottle full of 400 capsules! Oh amount of melanin Yeah oh Ana,
I want to run my fingers over the belts, the floggers, the paddles, and the suction
apparatus on the other hand, I don't immediately think it's me.
He can count the veins on Armaan's biceps, he can be released and will be available online on December 12 at $500 for the 32 GB version and $600 for the 64 GB version.

Sure...

It doesn't look offensive on the surface, maybe even a little bit funny the way it takes a stab at both genders. But lets face it, if it were to poke fun at any other stereotype, like Italian, Jewish, Indian, etc. people would be having a shit fit. If the slogan at the end was "Not for Muslims", people would be taking this ad a lot more seriously. It's time to start treating gender stereotypes like all of the other stereotypes out there, otherwise marketing schemes like this will continue to exist and demean consumers everywhere.

Speaking of stereotypes...

Have you seen the long-running UK ad campaign for Dolmio pasta sauces? It isn't a 'it's not for...' ad campaign but it's an example of using a stereotype to sell something and I don't recall seeing any shit fits about it.

I'm not saying it's acceptable or good, by the way, more that I am at least a little surprised that I haven't seen more widespread complaints about the series of ads.

Edith

How cute is she?My heart is in a puddle on the floor, I can't even remember what the article was about.

Not only is this ad campain worthy of this award

But most sodas are terribly unhealthy to consume, anyway. The regular ones contain empty calories of sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup. The diet ones are full of borderline-dangerous artificial sweeteners. I'd rather carry a reusable water bottle (bitchmart sells some!) than waste money on this ... literally ... crap. Bad no matter what the ads look like.

Real men, Real women, Real words

Look, I'm from the state where Dr Pepper was invented and where men have traditionally been, uh, hyper-manly. No man here would be persuaded to buy this product because of this insulting, ill-conceived idea. They drink stuff because the like it. Period.

The ad execs might as well post a "no girls allowed" sign on their office doors.

While I completely agree with Edith about the stupidity of this ad, I cringe at the term douchebag. The use of this word as a pejorative is just as offensive as pussy whipped: both are part of a larger lexicon of insults derived from words associated women. Just because douchey is a popularly used to characterize something or someone as contemptible doesn't exempt it from being a sexist term.

On "douchebag"...

Thanks for your comment, Susan! Here's a bit more information on why we choose to use the word douchebag on the Bitch blogs: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/hear-ye-hear-ye-the-douchebag-decree-decree

Hope that helps!

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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'Douchebag' link

Hi Kelsey, the link you posted takes me to Susan's comment.

Thanks!

Thanks for the catch, Halla! That's what happens when you have too much stuff in the clipboard I guess. Should be working now!

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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I only saw the commerical

I only saw the commerical once but when i did all i could think was WTF? "This manly man drink is sooo awesome because it's for guys who watch their man weight with the utmost manly care!" is the only think i got from this. Starting a conservation over a soda drink won't get you any faves. It's so small and unimportant compared real issues that it is a given for soda to be for everyone. Changing that unspoken rule of food will just piss people off. it wasn't a smart idea, especially considering that they just excluded half their clientele on purpose. Yes, because losing sales on purposes is important to the man agenda and will help grow strong men because girls can't have any! This reminds me of boy tree houses with "girls keep out" signs.

I've been waiting for someone to do an article on this once I saw it! You guys are quick! great work as usually.

I lawled my way through this

I lawled my way through this well written summary of the state of masculinity in the beverage world.

I totally agree. It's tiring watching the enforcement of restrictive gender roles being perpetuated as "satire."

Good post!!

It's actually quite brilliant

It's actually quite brilliant and you played right into it. By directing it at men, they get the male market (okay, more likely the redneck market) and by saying it's not for women they achieve two things: First, they get women to buy it as a big "f%*k you" or join the facebook page which creates publicity and second, and most important, they piss women off and get them to blog about it, talk about it and circulate petitions. Dr. Pepper couldn't have hoped for better advertising. You know the saying "even bad publicity is good publicity." The best protest we as women could have done would have been to ignore it completely (like a toddler's bad behavior), by giving a reaction we just encourage them.

I disagree.

I have to disagree here, Anonymous. I don't think the correct response when we as feminists see something that offends us is to "ignore it completely." If we don't get a conversation started and let people know why this ad (and many others like it) is a problem is then how can we expect any change to happen? I also think this kind of discourse is crucial for introducing those who may not have thought the ad was offensive at first (young people especially) to a new, media literacy-friendly perspective.

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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OMG this made me LOL

Oh, Dr. Pepper. On the one hand, I don't think this was a terrible marketing strategy, but on the other hand I agree that they are being d-bags. Or maybe the correct term is childish since the only people I see this ad working on are kids. It is surprising, though, at how serious Dr. Pepper seems to be taking their slogan "This is not for women" by having a 2nd facebook level that women can't access. I agree with whoever it was that made the comment about the ad being directed to women in a "I double dog dare you to drink this soda that's only for men" kind of way, so I don't understand the facebook thing. I guess they know they'd get women to join their silly facebook page, but wanted to make sure men had a "special place" (which kind of seems like it should be one of the rules on the Man'ments) to go (because they don't have enough already).Why not just start up a Gentleman's Club (not a strip club) like they used to have in the Victorian days were men could go and lament about the days when women were relegated to the home. and men ruled the world.

Humor

Humor has evaded you.

LOL.

LOL. Wait... what?

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Kelsey Wallace, contributor

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Dr Pepper 10

Dr Pepper got you talking about it so who's the douchebag now? Hmm, come to think of it, "douchebag" and "bitch" are gender-defining as well. Careful in your glass house there :)

Wow that new Dr.Pepper

Wow that new Dr.Pepper commercial makes me want to pee my name in the snow. Too bad it's only October.

I looked at their tv ad as a total tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top, poke at all of the stereotypical sexist male traits that people commonly joke about. It was only intended to make it's viewers laugh out loud, then buy some soda (or pop if you prefer).

Don't be mad.

BTW, Edith is a sweetheart. Is she a specific breed or a mix?

Only Dr. Pepper? I wonder....

As soon as I saw that commercial, the first thing in my mind is if women would take that in a negative or discriminating way.... Though I do think that NOTHING should be aimed for one gender specifically, there always seems to be a double-standard with women.

I wonder if anyone called Procter & Gamble "douchebags" for creating SECRET -- "Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman"? Also, even though Footlocker sells both men's and women's athletic attire, why someone thought it'd be a good idea to make a "Lady Footlocker," which oh by the way, only sells women's things. Men had their own underwear once upon a time, until "Jockey for Her" and "Hanes Her Way appeared-- (on a side note, why are "boyshorts" only for women?..I digress) Women wear ALL items of men's wardrobe and it's no problem, but if a guy wore a skirt, "OMG, what's wrong with him???", the list goes on and on.
Though I still agree that nothing should be gender specified, my point, I ask, is that the double standard, too, be considered before only attacking something that was aimed at women only.
One last point, I find it quite amusing that the original poster repeatedly uses the term "douchebag" to demean the advertisers, especially when men don't even use them.

Oops, I should have read your

Oops, I should have read your post before making mine. I brought up the Secret ad campaign as well.

People need to stop being so

People need to stop being so damn sensitive about EVERYTHING, it's meant as a joke get over it, everyone is offended by everything these day's if ya'll get so easily offended and upset than i highly suggest to get rid of your tv's and computers and radios and cell phones and proceed to live under a rock where the out side world has no chance of offending you, freaking nancy's.

so insanely stupid

Sure, it's meant as a joke. Sure. I get it. But the language is sexist, misogynist, and hateful, so I don't find it funny.

Advertising Strategy

I remember when Secret antiperspirant used to say in its ads that it was strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. At least the Irish Spring soap ads were a little more inviting to women. The man in the ad would say how manly and fresh the scent was. The lady would say, "Manly yes, but I like it too." I have read that Marlboro was intially called a lady's cigaratte back in the day. But they did a 360 and introduced the tobacco smoking cowboy, the Marlboro Man as its TV spokesman years later. I also recall Campbell's line of "Man Handler" soups. I wonder how successful these types of campaigns are?

and don't forget...

my favorite sloppy-joe-in-a-can, 'Manwich'! Yummm. Not.

'Hungry-Man' frozen dinner anyone?

Crap like this has been around a long time, DP just put a new over-the-top twist on it. It's all a bit offensive, especially in the 21st century.

I'm a man, and I still don't get it. Oh well, Dr. Pepper gives me heartburn anyway.

regards,
Jack

The whole ad pokes fun at how

The whole ad pokes fun at how male based marketing is stupid in itself. Overtly homophobic macho man ads have been around for years, at least this campaign doesn't take itself seriously.