Looks can be deceiving (as Reese Witherspoon proves in Legally Blonde). While Dr. Pepper’s new ad campaign seems to be sending a positive message to its viewers (featuring the tagline, “I’m One of a Kind), what message is actually being implied?
In the commercials, Mikaela Mayer, who is currently ranked as the number one boxer in the world, sips on a nice, refreshing Dr. Pepper while Misty Copeland, an American ballet dancer, drinks her DIET Dr. Pepper. I don’t know about you, but this message upsets me. Why should Misty have to drink a diet beverage while Mikaela gets to indulge in a regular one?
While I do find it refreshing that women are being portrayed in a positive light (as female athletes), this is overshadowed by the fact that the boxer gets to indulge while the ballerina is forced to be conscientious of her body and drink the diet Dr. Pepper.
Just by associating boxing with regular Dr. Pepper and ballet with diet Dr. Pepper, the advertisers are sending the message that a woman’s body is still held to a higher standard. I bet if the commercials featured males, all of the men would get to enjoy a regular beverage.
Dr. Pepper isn’t the only company who has recently tried to sell their product by equating it with fitness. The new Kia Soul commercial (yes, the one with the hamsters) shows the transformation of three “fluffy” hamsters into three buff hamsters.
It is only once these hamsters have become buff that they descend from the Kia, onto a red carpet, to a cheering crowd, and Lady Gaga’s song, “Applause”. Message? To be a “cool” hamster you better spend lots of time on the hamster wheel.
As avid TV watchers, Americans spend more time watching commercials than actually viewing the shows. Because of this, it is important to be aware of the subtle messages the media is sending. Indulging in a regular Dr. Pepper every once in a while (while watching your guilty pleasure on Netflix) isn’t going to kill you. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
Sarah Liming is currently a junior at the University of Dayton. She is a psychology major and is currently involved with an organization on campus called Active Minds which focuses on reducing the negative stigma associated with mental health and mental illness. After she finishes her undergrad education, Sarah plans to work at a clinic helping people recover from eating disorders.