The drink is formulated to taste like regular Dr Pepper, but has only 10 calories delivered via a blend of sweeteners, and is targeted at men aged 25-34 who “prefer the full-flavour experience of regular Dr Pepper but want a lower-calorie option without the diet imagery”.
Macho packaging for Texas-based DPS’s new offering includes a gunmetal gray colour scheme featuring industrial rivets and bold fonts, while a video advert on the firm's website features a muscular man touting a gun (pictured).
Ditch the diet image…
DPS said its marketing stance reflected consumer feedback and research, showing that many health-oriented men of 25-34 who were not completely satisfied with the taste or image of diet sodas.
Speaking at the launch of the new drink this week, Dr Pepper marketing director, Dave Fleming, said: “Men told us that they wanted a low-calorie option with the full flavour of regular Dr Pepper, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering with Dr Pepper Ten.
“I’d say these are the hardest-working calories in the beverage business,” Fleming added.
DPS said its “bold, yet tongue-in-cheek” ‘not for women message’ – incorporating the phrase ‘Don’t get too excited ladies, it’s for men only’ – had gone down well in 6 test markets earlier this year.
Trials in these markets saw Dr Pepper Ten record almost six per cent of DPS brand sales, the company said.
Beverage research analyst, Richard Haffner told BeverageDaily.com that Dr Pepper was developing a similar dynamic within their franchise to that already used by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
“I think the 10 calories in Dr Pepper Ten provides for a strong market position against a male audience interested in a more healthful alternative that tastes like the original,” Haffner said.
He added: “Given the success of Coke Zero, I expect Dr Pepper Ten will generate incremental volume for the Dr Pepper franchise.”
Coke Zero started trend
In 2005 Coke Zero began the trend amongst leading beverage brands of targeting young males with a zero-calorie drink that had a taste similar to a full-calorie version, Haffner noted.
"Coke Zero is a success not only because of its own volume, but also due to the fact that it was highly incremental in volume terms for Coca-Cola, since it didn’t cannibalise Diet Coke,” he said.
“Diet Coke is more female oriented, and Coke Zero successfully attracted male users.”
PepsiCo responded to Coke’s move, Haffner said, by repositioning Pepsi Max to appeal more to a male audience.
DPS said its latest launch dovetailed with its goal of basing at least 50 per cent of beverage products on a health and wellness platform by 2015, via reduced-calorie products and smaller product sizes.