Dr Pepper recently launched Dr Pepper 10, joining Coke Zero and Pepsi Max in competing for consumers’ dollars in this low-calorie beverage market. Launching is six American markets (Denver, Colorado Springs, Des Moines, Kansas City, San Antonio, and Austin), Dr Pepper markets this drink as only for men.
The main points of differentiation for Dr Pepper’s low calorie option is that Dr Pepper specifically targets men and only contains 10 calories (per 355ml serving) and is outwardly targeting men. While Coke Zero and Pepsi Max have strong sponsorships with male-oriented events (Nascar and NFL, respectively) and advertise with a strong focus on male consumers, they have never out right said that it’s a beverage for men. Doing so would alienate a large of female potential consumers. Yet Dr Pepper sees that this may be a potential niche market that they can own. Furthermore, Dr Pepper says that having 10 calories gets the beverage’s flavor as close as possible to the natural flavor of Dr Pepper. So will this work for Dr Pepper?
Given men’s association with dieting, marketing this beverage would be quite a challenge – if they had actually included the word “diet” and cut out all calories. By leaving some calories in order to closely replicate the Dr Pepper taste, they have also created their own market for low-calorie soda options. Recognizing that they are joining the low-calorie market late and having to deal with all the competition from Coke Zero and Pepsi Max, Dr Pepper was smart in creating their own market to reach out to consumers. While Coke Zero and Pepsi Max have both been successful as zero-calorie options, there may be still male consumers out there that perceive this as a diet beverage and stick with the regular Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Though these consumers may be brand loyalists, Dr Pepper 10 might appeal as an alternate option to those that consider a soda without any calories is impossible, or even that there is a different taste.
Though currently only in test markets, Dr Pepper’s Director of Marketing Dave Fleming says that Dr Pepper 10’s marketing budget is significant, and will give off the feel that it is a national launch in those six test markets. A Dr Pepper 10 branded trailer will appear in these test markets at sporting events or car shows offering male consumers the opportunity to play video games and watch TV.
As it stands, the low-calorie soft drink market is growing in its importance while the overall carbonated soft drink category is stagnating. This sub-category of low-calorie sodas may give the category the boost that it needs so it will be kept top-of-mind with consumers that are looking to refresh themselves (versus water, energy drinks, tea, and juices). No word on whether it will come up to Canada, but if Coke Zero and Pepsi Max are any indication, Dr Pepper 10 will see at least moderate success that justifies its need to be launched in Canada.