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Published: Wednesday, 10/12/2011

Dr Pepper serves up diet soda just for men

The new Dr Pepper TEN beverage is displayed in an ad. The new Dr Pepper TEN beverage is displayed in an ad.

NEW YORK -- Dudes don't drink diet.

Or at least that's the idea behind Dr Pepper Ten, a 10-calorie soft drink Dr Pepper Snapple Group rolled out this week with a macho ad campaign that proclaims, "It's not for women."

The soft drink was developed after company research found that men shy away from diet drinks that aren't perceived as "manly" enough.

To appeal to men, Dr Pepper made its Ten drink 180 degrees different from Diet Dr Pepper. Unlike its diet counterpart, it has calories and sugar. Instead of dainty tan bubbles on the can, Ten uses gunmetal gray packaging with silver bullets. And the ad campaign for Ten goes out of its way to eschew women.

For instance, there's a Dr Pepper Ten Facebook page for men only. And TV commercials are heavy on machismo, including one spot that shows muscular men in the jungle battling snakes and bad guys and shooting lasers at each other.

"Hey ladies. Enjoying the film? Of course not. Because this is our movie and this is our soda," a man says while pouring soda on an ATV ride. "You can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks. We're good."

Dr Pepper Ten is not the first diet soda for men. (Think Coke Zero and Pepsi Max.) But Dr Pepper Ten's campaign is the first to be overt about courting men who want sodas with less calories. The ads come at a time when overall sales in the $74 billion soft drink industry are slowing as more Americans seek healthy options like juice or water. Volume is down from just over 10 billion cases in 2005 to 9.4 billion cases in 2010, according to Beverage Digest data.

Dr Pepper said men, in particular, are dissatisfied with the flavor and image of diet drinks. The company wouldn't disclose the formula of Dr Pepper Ten but said the drink has 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar, which gives it a sweeter taste. Dr Pepper said there are 23 flavors in its regular soda, (which has 150 calories and 27 grams of sugar per can) and Dr Pepper Ten contains all of them.

The company declined to give figures for how much was spent on the campaign.

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