Joel Schwartzberg calls BS on “manly” calories and diet sodas designed “just for men.”
Why the somewhat sudden need for men-targeted diet sodas? Maybe Coke Zero and Pepsi Max flew a little under the radar, but commercials for Dr. Pepper TEN—in which virile men drive hard, fight hard, sweat hard, and drink low-calorie soda from cans hard—make no bones about it: this is a drink made just for MEN (or as the commercials like to say, “This is not for women”). My wife likes to call it “Dr. Penis.”
Unlike Diet Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper TEN has 10 manly calories and two manly grams of sugar. Hoo-ah! But who is it really for? According to USA Today, Dr. Pepper TEN was developed “after the company’s research found that men shy away from diet drinks that aren’t perceived as ‘manly’ enough.”
Where are these men who, in 2012, are embarrassed to be seen drinking diet soda? Or drinking from a can that includes the world “diet?” Raise your hands if they can go that high. Wherever you are, Dr. Pepper TEN is there not just to provide a regular dose of sweet caffeine, but also to reinforce ridiculous notions of manhood. Drink one while you’re slapping on Axe body spray, watching football, stomping on a quiche, and not asking for directions.
I know men didn’t get into Tab, and maybe “Bud Diet” wouldn’t make a very good “Bud Bowl” contender, but I see plenty of dudes drinking Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Diet Pepsi. I’ve been personally drinking diet sodas for years, without a sparkle of self-consciousness. (Zima? That’s another matter.)
To be honest, I really like the taste of Dr. Pepper TEN (and I’ve always been a Pepsi One guy). But in the communities, supermarkets, and train stations I travel through, it’s Dr. Pepper TEN I’m embarrassed to be seen drinking. To me, TEN doesn’t say, “I drink MAN drinks.” It says, “I consume dumb stereotypes.”
And that’s a legitimate shame.
—Photo ABCNews/Dr Pepper Snapple Group