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Pen & Ink: Manning up

Michael Davis

Michael Davis

All’s fair in love -- and soda.

If you haven’t seen the laser-shooting, jungle-fighting macho commercial for Dr. Pepper’s new offering, Ten, you might not realize that the soft drink is, well, just for men.

Based on the idea that the diet soda world is perceived by many men to be too wimpy, or too feminine, Dr. Pepper aims its new product at guys who want to set themselves apart from the diet soda crowd. It’s not completely calorie-free, and not completely sugar-free, so I guess it’s supposed to be a little more potent and manly than those girlie, full-on diet sodas.

Maybe I’m out of touch a little, but I didn’t realize diet soft drinks had such an image problem.

I’m a Diet Coke fan from way back and can’t seem to tolerate the syrupy sweetness of regular sodas anymore.

The commercial got me to thinking a little recently about what else the marketing pros might brand as “for men only.”

We all know about a certain type of hair coloring that’s just for men. But what about, say, a toothbrush that’s just for men. Maybe it would have a manly paint scheme, with flames like an old Chevy.

They could also sell toothpaste that’s for men only, and tastes like hot wings. (On second thought, maybe not.)

Another product that could be sold to men only, in the food and beverage category, is snack chips. Perhaps Frito Lay could rebrand one of its offerings as “Doritos Overdrive,” and put them in a black bag with bold, red lettering and pictures of sports cars.

The slogan could be: “When it’s time for the game, kick your tailgate party into Overdrive.”

That slogan could also be applied to for-men-only beer, barbecue, chili, cole slaw and potato salad.

One aisle over, we might find a line of men-only cleaning products. Dishwashing liquid, for example. It would be the color of black coffee and smell like motor oil, perhaps. They would call it “Down,” as in, that baked-on lasagna is going down!

I wouldn’t be surprised one day to see a line of Jell-O puddings just for men. Forget chocolate and tapioca. How about steak-and-potatoes flavored?

I read the other day that it was the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of the iPod. I propose that Apple sell a new model that is shaped like a trailer hitch and comes preloaded with all of Metallica’s albums from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Just for men.

Also at the electronics store, they could sell TVs for men only. They would automatically block the Lifetime, Oxygen and Oprah Winfrey networks, so that as guys are frantically changing between the channels and not stopping to really watch anything, they don’t accidentally land on a made-for-TV movie.

Back to beverages, maybe Deer Park could sell a manly bottled water. It wouldn’t really be any different than regular water, but maybe the label on the bottle would be camouflage and show some antlers and a rifle.

As you can see, the possibilities for manly marketing are infinite.

Michael Davis is the managing editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus.