Framing Diet Cola Drinks


There is so much competing for our attention in the marketplace that companies are willing to be controversial in order to differentiate themselves from their rivals and get our attention. Have you seen the new Dr Pepper Ten video advert? Check out the video below if you haven’t seen it.

This is a diet cola drink aimed at men. The marketing slogan for Dr Pepper Ten is “It’s not for women”. I am pretty sure that this video would have received lots of complaints from feminist groups in the States who will deem it as sexist marketing.

I talked about frames of reference in a previous post. Marketing is all about framing. The aim of marketing is get us to see the product in the way the marketer wants us to see it. But why did Dr Pepper feel the need to frame their drink, Dr Pepper Ten, in a controversial way? Well, they realised that men were not buying their diet drinks in the supermarkets. Marketing focus group feedback from men revealed that they hated the term ‘diet’ associated with their drinks. It is a gender thing. Men have a problem with the word ‘diet’ while women don’t.

This is true because, thinking of it, none of the men I know have ever said that they are going on a diet. They usually say they need to lose weight or go to the gym. This particular frame of reference for men forced drink companies to become creative in the way they frame and market their diet cola drinks to both men and women. They simply created two diet drinks – one for men and one for women but it’s actually one drink with two different names. This is why Coca Cola has Diet Coke for women and Coke Zero for men, while Pepsi has Diet Pepsi for women and Pepsi Max for men. They made diet drinks acceptable and cool for men to drink by reframing it as ‘macho’ drinks instead of previous perception of them by men as ‘chick’ or ‘sissy’ drinks for women.

Check out these two adverts (Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi) targeted at women to see what I mean.

Which other brands are you aware of that have cleverly framed their products along gender lines to capture attention and generate sales?

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