I’ve heard people talking about this ad for a while, but I had not actually seen it for myself until last night (probably because I don’t watch a lot of tv).
Disclaimer: I don’t drink a lot of Dr. Pepper. It is my firm belief that Dr. Pepper only exists so that I have something to drink at Pepsi-only establishments. I’m from the South. We drink Coke. End of story.
When this ad was described to me, I was sure it had to be a hoax. Surely no company would ever air an advertisement so juvenile, so misogynist. Corporations are supposed to be sensitive to things like demographics and markets and such, right?
Well I guess not. The average woman would, I believe, be really offended by this. “Keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks?” Really? Have you ever been on a date that ended well? Do women routinely roll their eyes when you say things? This just in: women are people, not things created to satisfy your baser urges and be otherwise annoying.
This is is one of those rare things that offends on both levels, because I find it offensive to men, as well.
In case the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group didn’t do a lot of market research before approving this, I’ll lay it out for them. Not all men are mindless action-movie zombies. Something packed with laser beams, explosions, and car chases does not automatically draw my attention. Many of us graduated past the hair-pulling, girls-are-gross phase at some point around 12 years of age. You can’t wrap a product up in gunmetal and rivets and expect me to buy it just because I stand up to pee. If you’re marketing your soda at 12 year-olds, bravo. This is exactly the ad to bring in that untapped demographic. If you actually want to attract customers that, ya know, have jobs and therefore money to spend on Dr. Pepper, I believe you’ve miscued.
As a comparison to the laser-gun toting, swaggering pig in the Dr. Pepper TEN commercial, I’d like to suggest some other, superior exemplars of “manliness.”
These examples are not meant to be paragons of virtue. They have their flaws, because men have their flaws. They can be quarrelsome, swaggering, and brash. But real men do not demean women. They don’t refer to “lady drinks,” “our movie,” or “manly calories.” Calories are calories okay, Meathead? Men not abusive (lookin’ at you here, Chris Brown). They don’t run around in the woods playing at some machismo game of no-girls-allowed laser tag.
Real men get involved. They try to leave things better than they found them, to leave something of value behind them. They stand for a cause. They are chivalrous without being belittling. Strong without being abusive. Men believe in a code of honor, even when they fail to uphold it. Manners, education, character, generosity, responsibility, maturity–these are manly virtues.
Another thing that real men do not do (and here I’ll be expanding my scope a bit) is tell women what they should and should not do. Woman are just as capable as men for military service, or any other job, frankly. Women are not the weaker sex. They are just as strong as men, some of them even stronger. Women are fully capable of thinking on their own and forming their own opinions, just like any man. Which means that women are fully capable of making their own decisions when it comes to birth control and sexual health.
Today Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) convened a special hearing on women’s access to birth control, except he didn’t include any actual women on his list on witnesses. His reasoning for this was that the hearing was only addressing the religious freedom perspective of the birth control argument. That’s is a nice way of saying that not only does he not think that women are capable of making decisions about their own bodies, but that God doesn’t either. That’s fairly presumptuous of Mr. Issa, to speak on behalf of a being who created both Man and Woman, but I digress. Real men don’t gather behind closed doors and tell women what to do. Real men don’t try to deny basic rights and freedoms to women. Real men don’t try to push their religious dogma onto women.
And as far as this man is concerned, real men don’t drink Dr. Pepper.